Over $1 million in Disaster Unemployment Assistance have been paid to approved applicants by the U.S. Department of Labor through the CNMI Department of Labor as of June 8, 2019.
The DUA program provides payment relief and reemployment assistance to individuals who are unemployed as a direct result of a major disaster. DUA claims are only taken after the President of the United States, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), declares specific areas of the CNMI as disaster areas and authorizes Individual Assistance to individuals working in the disaster areas. DUA funding is provided by FEMA and does not come from employer payroll taxes. Individuals who applied and/or received DUA benefits must provide proof of identity and demonstrate their status as U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or qualified aliens.
During the application period, more than 1,400 applications were submitted to CNMI DOL and the Disaster Unemployment Assistance office for review. Of that number, almost 800 were approved by the U.S. Department of Labor, 3,300 weeks were paid, and approved applicants received an average amount ranging from $1,200 to $2,400 each week.
“Disaster Unemployment Assistance was among the many priorities we requested for immediately after Super Typhoon Yutu. Important to our recovery is ensuring that we help those private sector employees who were displaced and those trying to find work or gainful employment. The road to recovery continues, and we’re continuing to implement a comprehensive approach that gets us through these challenging times,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.
“The DUA Program has provided monetary assistance to individuals, who had either lost their job, or had their work hours reduced, as a result of Super Typhoon Yutu’s destruction of many businesses. A little over a million dollars was granted by the US Department of Labor Employment Training and Administration, and we are grateful to DUA program coordinator Consuelo Hines and acting administrator John Bailey for their untiring assistance,” said CNMI Secretary of Labor Vicky Benavente.
Approved applicants have expressed their gratitude and appreciation to Torres, Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, CNMI Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente, and director of Employment Services Eugene Tebuteb. (PR)