Over $25,000 has been disbursed by the CNMI Department of Labor for qualified individuals who lost their jobs due to Typhoon Soudelor.
According to Labor Secretary Edith DeLeon Guerrero, they received about 350 applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The application period lasted more than a month starting in September.
More than $6,000 worth of benefits to be paid is pending, for a total of $31,504 worth of vouchers submitted for payment.
“I have to say we’re really thankful to the U.S. government for giving us this benefit. The fact is, the employers are not paying into the unemployment insurance program but we’re able to get this kind of assistance,” DeLeon Guerrero said. “It’s good for the employees that are affected. It provides them assistance to get back on track and get back to work.”
Most of the applicants were foreign workers under the CW program, which are not eligible for financial assistance from FEMA. Six were from Freely Associated States, while 130 were U.S. citizens.
Of the total applications, only 74 were found eligible.
“The DUA money is FEMA money administered by DOL. We have to follow those regulations, that’s the law,” DeLeon Guerrero said.
DOL can help those who were found ineligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance by letting them know about job openings as long as they have valid papers and qualifications.
“Foreign workers who have valid visa can apply for the job bank,” DeLeon Guerrero said.