Guam Department of Labor director David Dell’Isola said they’re going to continue making batch payments, hopefully on Tuesdays, as they work through more unemployment claims.
“We’re going to play catch up, and we’re going to work it very quickly. Typically we’re going to do payments once a week, but if we can clear enough a little earlier then we may just move forward with that, because we are playing catch up. And I understand that people need to get this money as quickly as possible. So, we’re working as hard as we can to push all this stuff forward and clean them up and get the money out,” said Dell’Isola.
The department began processing millions of dollars in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits on Monday.
Dell’Isola said they ran a payment-test on Friday and it was successful.
The current clean claims file was sent to the Department of Administration to begin sending out around $35 million unemployment claims, filed between May 30 and June 1, just a 3-day period.
GDOL does not have a final number of how many claims the initial $35 million batch payment represents.
Dell’Isola told PNC News, 90% of applicants so far have opted for electronic funds transfer, meaning they’ll get their money sooner than a mailed check.
Since it’s not just a one-time application, he says residents need to stay on top of their claims:
“I recommend every Monday, moving forward, you do your weekly claim for that Saturday back to the Sunday. And you just put in your claims and it’ll catch up, the system will just batch you in as a clean claim, along with the new claimants. We’ll slowly work our way up to the present day and then every week, we’ll just batch that previous week and get you paid. It’ll take us a little bit of time…but once today goes well, then everything will be in place to just batch-and-pay, batch-and-pay.”
So far, 22,538 residents have applied for federally-funded assistance.
GDOL says over 31,000 employee names were submitted to the www.hireguam.com system as being displaced due to COVID-19, from 1,754 employers.
That means around 9,000 possibly eligible residents have still not filed their initial claims.
“That initial large group of claimants, you can see it’s only 3 days and you have $35 million in payments, those are probably the ones who are millenials, tech-savvy, who can go online and have no problems filing the claims and understanding what to do. As we get farther along the process, now we’re starting to get to people who maybe don’t have internet, who are older, who don’t understand the process, the language,” said Dell’Isola.
He says the software vendor they’re working with, has added more fraud-prevention measures on the backend, which will ultimately speed up their application processing times.
“We have to make sure we have those integrity measures in place, so that the USDOL who are looking at us, can say ‘alright, you did your fair share of making sure these payments [are correct]’ … which are $10,000 give or take going out to everybody. So, when you’re dealing with those kinds of numbers, you have to be careful.”
Guam DOL is investigating several fraudulent claims, including duplicate requests and off-Island applications.
Residents who have not yet filed and need help can still make an appointment to apply in-person at the Guam Community College from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Alternatively, residents can call to fill out the application by phone.
To schedule an in-person appointment to apply for the PUA and FPUC programs call:
To apply for PUA and FPUC by phone beginning June 8, call (671) 735-0518 through 0526.
For more information, call 311 or (671) 735-0527 through 0532. Follow GDOL on social media for updates on Facebook (@guamdol) and Instagram (@dolguam).
For login issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For claim or weekly certification issues, email email@example.com.