The Guam Department of Labor has released $4.7 million from the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program that will benefit Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimants, who will receive this additional cash assistance today, Nov. 30.
GDOL batched this first LWA payment along with $5.9 million in PUA and $605,000 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) for a total payout of $11.2 million last week.
With this batch, a grand total of $440 million has been released to the people of Guam in the last six months, according to GDOL.
The cash aid came from the $22 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus signed into law on March 27 in response to the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States.
“Most states had decades to build an unemployment system that issued benefits accurately and actively detected fraud. The Guam Department of Labor did it in months," Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said.
"These benefits are a lifeline to our people, and I’ve ordered GDOL to ensure that we can release as many dollars as possible before the end of December. Thanks to strong relationships with our federal partners, this additional money will come without the need for local match funds paid by Guam tax payers.”
“Our goal is to pay out all of October and November PUA as well as LWA before Christmas. We know this is a huge undertaking for our team as we double audit for accuracy,” said GDOL Director David Dell'Isola. “If you had changes to your employment during this period, please upload employer separation letters and check stubs so you can be included in these LWA payouts for the holidays.”
To qualify, claimants must have received at least $100 or more in PUA between Aug. 1 and Sept. 5. The department will continue to batch payments every Tuesday for the next three weeks.
“This $1,800 benefit comes at a time when too many of our friends, family, and neighbors are in need, and we won’t stop here. The continuation of federally funded unemployment benefits is a need shared across the country. We are actively working with our federal partners to ensure that Guam is a part of any relief package negotiated by the incoming administration,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio.
Claimants are urged to update their unemployment applications due to the changing Pandemic Condition of Readiness status that may have affected employment.