Half a billion dollars in unemployment benefits circulating in Guam economy

Updated: Apr 16

GDOL detects 93,000 fraudulent claims

Despite the increased unemployment rate due to the economic stagnation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Guam is awash in cash, with more than a billion dollars in federal unemployment benefits circulating in the local economy.

The Guam Department of Labor said it has paid out more than $567.2 million in unemployment benefits as of March 15.

The total amount distributed is broken down as follows: $280.2 million in pandemic unemployment assistance, $253.2 million in federal pandemic unemployment compensation and $33.8 million in Lost Wages Assistance.

However, labor officials said numbers are not completely accurate due to the more than 93,000 fraudulent claims that attacked the hireguam.com system.

“We were hit by fraud from every angle in every way possible. This includes identity theft, people using fake Guam addresses, fake names and ethnicities," Labor DirectorDavid Dell’Isola said. "While the agency staff has worked hard to filter out fraudulent data, the system-generated breakdowns are still slightly skewed. Please use these numbers as an approximate snapshot of Guam’s pandemic unemployment claimants."

GDOL has released initial statistical data on PUA claims as of Feb. 24 and monetary data as of March 15.

" The largest batch came in the week ending June 27, 2020, and totaled $77.7 million. The next largest payment of $61.2 million was paid out for the week ending Aug. 8, 2020," GDOL said. Out of about 29,000 claimants, 15,291 identified as female, and 13,345 identified as male. A small number of people opted not to disclose their gender, 136. Most applicants were between the ages of 25-54 with a totalof 18,128 people. Senior citizens 55 years and older totaled5,373. Youth 16-24 totaled 5,273.