Unemployment website now live; kinks yet to be worked out

GDOL Director David Dell'Isola said that he launched an investigation but found no evidence that the senator's jobless application was leaked by his department. (PNC file photo)
Executive Order 2020-17

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero this afternoon announced that the website for applying for federally funded unemployment benefits is now online. However, Guam Department of Labor Director David Dell’Isola is asking applicants to wait a few days until the kinks in the application process have been worked out.

“Finally, our DOL, Department of Labor Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program and the federal pandemic unemployment program have been launched. So we are now able to, online. You are now able to apply for this benefit,” the governor said.

The long-awaited application process on the hireguam.com website went live Saturday morning. And, as of Monday morning, Dell’Isola said 4,000 had already applied for the unemployment benefits.

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“Although the process is live and people are starting to apply, there are some issues and bugs that we continue to address,” Dell’Isolla said.

Dell’ Isola said by tomorrow he hopes many of the kinks can be ironed out.

“More than half of our problems stem from users. Some not knowing what the term unemployment means. Some, not knowing the company they work for because it’s a DBA and the employer entered a corporate name. Some have been asking help from their brothers or cousins and put in wrong information,” Dell’Isola said.

And for the kinks and questions that remain, a processing center is being launched at Guam Community College that will be staffed by individuals currently learning about the application process and ready to man phone lines to answer questions

Mary Okada, GCC President, said: “GCC had the equipment to support this effort so we activated 80 computers and had them all wired and connected. We were very fortunate that Xerox stepped up and helped us. So we have copying machines that are available for their use. And we were able to get 34 telephone lines into the building,” Okada said.

The big question for all those who have already or will soon be applying is how long will it be before the first checks go out. By regulation, Dell’Isola has 21 days to issue an unemployment check once a claim has been accepted. But he hopes it can be done sooner.

“The Department of Administration is working with the software vendor to get in all the information for the ping module side of it. I hope that can be done and fairly quickly and put in a few of the integrity that help with the security and fraud and any breaches that might happen. And if that is in place, if that is in place sooner than later, then, of course, we’ll get the EFTs cut and followed by the checks,” Dell’Isola said.

Once you are able to apply, don’t forget to apply for all the previous weeks that you were unemployed. And then you must apply every week going forward for the term of the benefit.

And remember, if you are offered your job back and refuse, you are no longer eligible for the unemployment benefits.

READ the release from the Department of Labor in FULL Below:

For Immediate Release
June 1, 2020
Hagåtña, Guam — The Guam Department of Labor’s application for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation programs is now live on hireguam.com

The application soft launched Saturday May 30. If you submitted an employee claim and had no issues or errors, please do not submit another application. If you did experience issues, please email pua.hotline@dol.guam.gov

“This is a brand new program so there will be some glitches. We ask people for their patience as we continue to address these issues,” said Labor Director David Dell’Isola. 

Labor has also officially signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Guam Community College to stand up a processing center at the campus. Currently employees are being trained on the application system so they can help claimants who don’t have access to the internet or computers. The application is online only. 

The center is not yet open, but when it is individuals can make an appointment for help with the online application. Employers can also get training on the system so they can aid their employees file for unemployment benefits. 

As of June 1, there have been 1,215 employers who have registered separation notices for 22,795 employees on hireguam.com. More than 5,000 claims have been initiated.

If individuals need help and cannot get through to 311, they can also call: (671) 735-