10K applicants for PUA 2.0

Posted on Mar 17 2021

The second round of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation has approximately 10,000 applicants, according to Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente.

In a text message interview with Benavente, she said that they are still verifying each application to ensure that the PUA program guidelines are being followed, to detect fraudulent claims, and to prevent overpayments of benefits.

This time around, DOL won’t be accepting late applications. Benavente said that the PUA program guidelines “must be adhered to.”

“DOL must continue to follow the rules, otherwise we are jeopardizing the program for…those applicants who submitted their applications on time,” said Benavente.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, Benavente said that they asked for $185 million for this second round of the PUA/PFUC programs, compared to the $249 million they asked for in the first round.

Last Feb. 17, 2021, DOL was notified of the grant award from the U.S. Department of Labor, amounting to $184,800,000. Of this amount, $92,400,000 is for PUA benefits and $92,400,000 is for FPUC benefits.

The department was also granted $210,000 to incorporate additional funding for Identity Verification of PUA claimants and to assist with efforts to prevent and detect fraud, identity theft, and recover fraud overpayments in the PUA program.

Justine Nauta | Correspondent
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.
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