The Guam Department of Labor will send out another set of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Lost Wages Assistance this week.
It will cover error-free claims through Dec. 19, according to David Dell’Isola, director of the Guam Department of Labor.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits end Dec 31. The last full week of benefits was Dec. 26. Residents can no longer submit new claims, Dell’Isola said, and the federal extension of the program remains up in the air.
As of Sunday, Guam time, President Donald Trump had not approved Congress’ stimulus package, which would have increased the 39-week unemployment benefits program to 50 weeks. It also would have reinstated Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, adding $300 to claimants’ checks through March 14, 2021.
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Trump is pushing for a $1,400 increase for residents’ second stimulus checks over what Republican and Democratic leaders had negotiated, USA TODAY reported.
The lack of action means there will be a lapse in unemployment aid between the current program’s expiration and its restart. However, for Guam, there was always going to be a lapse, Dell’Isola said.
“The programming has to be put in place. We have to get the guidances from U.S. (Department of Labor),” he said. “It was always anticipated. They pretty much said there’s going to be a lag between getting the law passed and writing the policies, procedures, guidances. Even though some of it we have figured out, it still has to be officially written.”
Ideally, Guam will be able to utilize its unused balances from the initial Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to seamlessly fund the extended program when the time comes, Dell’Isola said.
“I won’t have to ask for additional (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) or (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation) money,” he said. “We will have to request for additional administrative costs.”
“I’m waiting for the 100% confirmation that we can use the balances,” he said.
Residents who have benefited from the full 39-week program each have collected close to $25,000 total, according to Dell’Isola.