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Unemployment assistance awaits Guam employees displaced by Mawar



By Pacific Island Times News Staff


The Guam Department of Labor will launch a Disaster Unemployment Assistance program in the coming weeks to provide a safety net for residents who are still struggling to recover from Typhoon Mawar.


Under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Guam is authorized for an initial obligation of $876,374 for administrative costs to implement the unemployment assistance program, according to the governor's office.


With the administrative costs approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Labor, GDOL can now provide the final parameters for its software vendor to program the Guam DUA system.

Although the labor department applied on June 9 for $26 million, the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested initial administrative funding of under $1 million and then the balance of $25 million afterward because the benefits require congressional notice, the governor's office said.


“The GDOL has been actively surveying our business sector to provide the supporting information to secure this funding source,” Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said.


To qualify, a claimant must have been employed on the date of the storm.

Based on data collected after the typhoon, the labor department estimated about 7,000 individuals, or 14 percent of Guam's workforce, are likely to apply for the aid, hundreds of whom are farmers and fishermen.


“Similar to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, we look forward to providing support and much-needed relief to our residents who lost wages or their jobs as a result of this disaster," the governor said.


The weekly assistance amount for all workers in Guam is $384 for each week of total unemployment, retroactive to May 28.


The DUA program will be an automated system similar to PUA, requiring online filing, the governor's office said.


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Pending the DUA program's official launch, officials advised that affected persons with a HireGuam.com account log on to their accounts now to ensure they are ready once the program starts and to start preparing their documents now.


DUA is a FEMA-funded disaster program with strict federal guidelines.


"Failure to provide required documentation within 21 days of filing an initial claim will result in a denied claim," according to the governor's office. "Claims must be filed within 30 days from the date the system goes live. If, for whatever reason, a claim is filed after the 30-day window elapses, it will be denied under federal DUA regulations."


“The funding used to program this DUA system for Guam will benefit Guam for future disasters as having the DUA framework set up would drastically improve implementation time should another disaster need to be declared,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio.


Eligibility and Requirements
Documented proof of employment, a government-issued picture ID, and a statement from the employer that the worker’s unemployment is directly due to damage caused by the storm.  
Self-employed individuals will need to prove that their self-employment is their primary income source and that they cannot engage in self-employment activities directly due to the storm.  
These individuals will need to provide proof that their business is legitimate.  Examples of such proof would be a copy of the individual’s business license, gross receipt tax filings, and business records.



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