PUA payments getting smaller as September 4 cut-off draws near

Guam Department of Labor Director David Dell'Isola (PNC photo)

Guam Department of Labor director Dave Dell’Isola gave an update on the PUA program, saying that overall, PUA has already paid out $708 million since June 2020.

As the current iteration nears its end on September 4th, payment batches have been getting smaller and smaller.

The last batch was about $17 million. The batch from April 13, about two months ago, was $25 million.

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Dell’Isola said that that the week of September 4th is the last work week that people will be able to file for PUA although actual payments could be going out for a few weeks afterward especially as GDOL resolves discrepancies for individual claimants.

To help people find jobs as federal unemployment benefits begin to phase out, Guam Community College has stood up work-training boot camps in partnership with GDOL.

“GCC released about 16 bootcamps. And this was something that we were working closely with them and trying to get them to recognize the need. And of course, they stepped up to the occasion really well. Mary Okada is a very close working partner, and if you saw the variety of bootcamps that they’re offering, it’s right in the niche of what the demand is looking for. And that’s where our people need to move into. Those who were maybe in the service industries, or the restaurant or hotel industry, or just looking for a change. There are a lot of programs there, that once you get out, they can move right into a job,” Dell’Isola said in an interview with NewsTalk K57.

Dell’Isola said that although many may have become accustomed to PUA, especially if it pays more than their old jobs, he said the time to get your post-PUA plans going is right now.

Especially if you’re considering a transition to another field.

“I’m sure you’ve heard me preaching three or four months ago to get ready for this. You know, get these jobs now. Because the bootcamps that are coming up, most of them are free. But they have a limited amount, like 20 people. And maybe if they go over that, they may offer an additional bootcamp. But you know, 20 for each one, is not a lot. The early bird is going to get the job and the free training,” Dell’Isola said.

There remains a theoretical possibility that PUA and other unemployment programs will get renewed after September 4th.

However, Dell’Isola said that all signs point to this being the last go-round for PUA.

“From all that I have heard, read, and been in meetings, that sounds like the end date. I’ve never felt like it was ending previously. Because even the U.S. was under quarantines and shutdowns and stuff, all of the previous dates. But now everything is opening up. I mean, there are two states that just stopped PUA altogether, because they’re trying to get their people back to work,” Dell’Isola said.