Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente said yesterday the CNMI Department of Labor continues to accept applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits.
In response to Saipan Tribune’s request for clarification, Benavente said a PUA application is essentially also an FPUC application since earning at least $1 in PUA will qualify an individual for $300 in PFUC each week.
She said the PUA/FPUC paper application deadline is Sept. 7, 2021, while the online application deadline is Sept. 4, 2021.
Benavente said the deadline to submit paper applications is actually Sept. 4, but since it falls on a Saturday this year, plus the federal Labor Day holiday on Sept. 6, necessitated moving the deadline to Sept. 7. Per regulations, if the deadline falls on a Saturday or a holiday, the deadline will be automatically extended to the following business day.
At a radio news briefing last Friday, Benavente said their PUA office at building number 1334 on Capital Hill is open from 8am to 4pm Monday through Friday to accept supporting documents in order for a PUA claimant’s application to be processed. She said they can also assist with a PUA applicant with the online application if they wish.
“We are continuing to accept documents for a PUA or what we call round 2, which is under the Continued Assistance Act,” she said.
She said Thursday last week marked the first anniversary when they opened the roadside intake counter at their office on Capitol Hill as a means to protect employees from the COVID-19 virus a year ago.
She said they had a smoother process this year and could meet in person and can assist online and by telephone.
She said they are also trying to make sure any overpayment to PUA applicants is collected.
Benavente disclosed that, as of May 31, they have collected more than $30 million in overpayment that they have retrieved from applicants who were mistakenly paid or fraudulently paid by PUA and PFUC.
Benavente said that Labor is also obligated to collect any overpayments for Lost Wages Assistance if an applicant’s claim is found to be ineligible for this program.
She said in order to receive LWA, an individual has to be eligible for at least $100 in PUA benefits during the week ending dates of August 1, 8, and 15 of 2020.