By Pacific Island Times News Staff
$784 million in unemployment aid distributed on Guam
The Guam Department of Labor has distributed about $784 million in federal financial aid to displaced employees, including the latest $10.7 million released for pandemic unemployment aid.
The latest batch includes the first two weeks of certifications that required three job searches a week, the labor department said.
Of $10.7 million , $5.2 million was for pandemic unemployment assistance, $5.4 million for federal pandemic unemployment compensation, about $30,000 comes from the lost wages assistance program and $923,000 is in federal withholding taxes. Labor officials said the funds should reach claimants by early next week but they advised recipients that there is a time frame for disbursing unemployment assistance. Each batch must be reconciled and audited for accuracy.
“The two weeks covered with this batch that included the work search requirement has obviously caused a reduction in filings. Some may be having difficulties in uploading the information," Labor Director David Dell’Isola said.
"I encourage those having issues to go to dol.guam.gov to watch the step-by-step video tutorial on how to properly enter information on the three job searches needed to qualify for benefits. For further assistance claimants can also call 311 or head over to the Dededo library,” he added.
The agency also reminds the public that the week ending Sept. 4 is the last eligible work week for federal pandemic assistance. New claimants have until Oct. 4 to file their claims.
The work search requirement is for those that are completely unemployed or have been furloughed for four weeks or more. Reduced hour employees should enter their earnings as usual, and may answer no to the questions regarding work search.
Labor officials instructed self-employed individuals to mark "no" on the work search questions and then finish up their weekly certifications as usual.
" Unfortunately,, they may be required to call in to GDOL to have the weeks manually authorized for payment. GDOL understands there may be many claimants affected," GDOL said.
"To address the issue the agency has dedicated a team to go through and fix as many self-employed claims as possible. Please check your dashboard to see if your claim has been cleared. If not, please call 311 for assistance to have it corrected immediately," the department said.