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  • By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Half-a-billion in unemployment aid paid out in 6 months; more federal dollars are coming

The Guam Department of Labor has paid out $503 million in unemployment benefits from the federal CARES Act since June.

More federal relief dollars are coming following President Trump's move to sign a major legislative package that includes extended coronavirus aid and government spending for the next fiscal year.

As the year comes to an end, the labor department is releasing one more benefit payment of both Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Lost Wages Assistance totaling $4.8 million. Of that amount, $328,000 is in LWA. In December alone, the department has batched $58.5 million in unemployment aid.

“Working closely with the governor and the lieutenant governor, my department and I have been committed throughout 2020 to helping the people of Guam get through this pandemic. We will continue to work hard in the new year in getting emergency financial assistance out to our workforce affected by Covid-19,” said Labor Director David Dell’Isola. “We hope these funds will help families as we all look forward to 2021 and as we work to implement the second Covid-19 relief package.”

Though the first program has ended, money will continue to be batched and disbursed for claimants who have not received their full benefit amount.

The second round of PUA has been signed into law and we anticipate a faster than usual turnaround for the next round of the program to be stood up.

“All indications point to a faster process. We are working very closely with the US Department of Labor every day as well as our PUA software vendor in order to expedite the process. Please stay tuned. As more information becomes available we will announce details to the public via the media,” Dell’Isola said.

The newly signed Covid -19 relief package includes $600 relief checks for many Americans, an assortment of aid for small businesses and money to purchase and distribute vaccines:

Following are the highlights of the new measure:

  • $600 direct payment checks for every adult and child earning up to $75,000. Individuals earning between $75,000 and $99,000 would get smaller checks, and the benefit cuts out entirely for individuals earning over $99,000.

  • Unemployment benefits: Lawmakers agreed to extend enhanced unemployment benefits for jobless workers, who will receive up to $300 per week through mid-March. Self-employed people and gig workers will also receive extended assistance.

  • Rental assistance: The measure includes $25 billion to help families pay their rent, and it extends the eviction moratorium now in effect until Jan. 31.

  • SNAP assistance: The measure includes an additional $13 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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