The CNMI Department of Labor is now accepting applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, or DUA, for workers on Saipan who lost their jobs and self-employed individuals who have been unable to work due to damage sustained from Typhoon Soudelor.
Severe weather has devastated homes and businesses, resulting in disaster-related unemployment. Individuals may apply for DUA if they have had a week(s) of unemployment after Aug. 1, 2015, which is the date when the disaster began. Individuals must file applications for DUA within 30 days from today—by Oct. 19, 2015.
Labor’s website contains information about Disaster Unemployment Assistance, including DUA applications: http://www.wia.gov.mp/disaster-relief.
Individuals on Saipan who lost work as a direct result of Soudelor may apply for DUA either in person, by mail or by phone. DUA applications and other forms may be obtained at either of the following location(s):
-CNMI DOL Workforce Investment Agency Division, Capital Hill, Saipan, Bldg. No. 1215
-CNMI DOL Employment Services Division, Capital Hill, Saipan, Bldg. No. 1334
Individuals applying by phone should have their social security number available when calling as well as the name and address of their last employer or prospective employer or basic information about their business if self-employed. Phone applications can be made by calling any of the following numbers Monday through Friday between 7:30am and 4:30pm: 670-664-3156, 670-664-3157, 670-664-3190, 670-664-3195, 670-664-3196, 670-664-3197, 670-664-1704, 670-664-1705, 670-664-1708, 670-664-1757, 670-664-1707, 670-322-0996, or 670-322-4365.
DUA is available for eligible unemployed employees, self-employed individuals, farmers, and fishermen engaged in business at the time of the disaster.
Who can apply for DUA
Individuals who worked on the island of Saipan at the time of the disaster and are totally, part-totally, or partially unemployed as a direct result of the disaster may apply for DUA. Individuals must have lost work and wages or a majority of income or revenue because their employer’s business or their self-employed business was damaged or destroyed or closed by the federal/state government due to the disaster. In addition, one of the following conditions may have occurred as a direct result of the disaster:
-The individual is unable to reach his/her place of employment due to the disaster;
-The individual was scheduled to start work and the job no longer exists or the individual is unable to reach the job;
-The individual became the breadwinner or major support because the head of the household died as a direct result of the disaster;
-The individual cannot work because an injury caused a direct result of the major disaster; and
-The individual’s work hours have been reduced as a direct result of the major disaster.
Also, to receive DUA, individuals must provide all required documentation in-person at one of the above locations within 21 days from the day the claim was filed. A list of the required documentation will be provided when the claim is filed.
Examples of required documentation (due within 21 days) include but are not limited to:
-A government issued picture identification (driver’s license, passport, alien registration card, etc.)
-Social Security Card
-Copies of the most recent federal income tax form(s), check stubs, and other proof of earnings
-Evidence of self-employment earnings, business license, including financial documents such as 2014 federal/CNMI income tax forms, profit and loss statement, and proof of business loss due to the disaster.
-Proof of legal authorization to work on Saipan. Individuals must be a qualified alien who is legally authorized to work on Saipan. If an individual is paid DUA pending verification of alien status and/or work authorization and it is later discovered that the individual is not a qualified alien and/or is not authorized to work, any DUA paid will be overpaid and CNMI will also determine whether or not the individual made a false statement to obtain DUA. DUA payments are not subject to any waiver provisions and therefore any overpayments established must be repaid in full.
Individuals who are determined eligible for DUA must file weekly claim certifications (to demonstrate their continued eligibility) either in person or by phone using any of the above listed numbers between the hours of 7:30am and 4:30pm. Individuals who file a DUA claim will receive information about their benefit rights and responsibilities. To remain eligible for DUA, individuals must be able to work and be available for work, unless injured as direct result of the disaster. Continued eligibility is determined on a week-by-week basis.
Individuals who willfully conceal material facts or knowingly making a false statement to obtain DUA to which they are not entitled will be required to repay all benefits fraudulently collected and may be subject to prosecution under 18 U.S.C. 1001.
The CNMI Department of Labor Workforce Investment Agency Division offers reemployment services, including testing, counseling and job placement. For more information, visit www.wia.gov.mp or call 670-664-1704/1707/1708/1757/1705. (USDOL)