Labor starts drive-thru PUA application

Posted on Jun 19 2020

The Department of Labor has created a drive-thru system for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance applications at its office on Capital Hill. (KRIZEL TUAZON)

The Department of Labor serviced over 500 cars and handed out around 2,000 applications at the launch of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance applications last Wednesday.

Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente was seen out at the Department of Labor and Employment Services building on Capital Hill, overseeing PUA operations and reporting a steady flow of cars at their drive-thru application system.

“We’re trying to avoid as much interaction with people as possible. We want to just have the drive-thru system for picking up and dropping off PUA applications. This operation for drive-thru runs from 8am to 12pm, every day, Monday through Friday. If you need to pick up a PUA application, this is the route you need to go through on Capitol Hill,” she said Wednesday morning.

About 7,000 to 10,000 individuals are expected to apply for the assistance, and the department has mobilized all of its staff to help facilitate the program, with a dozen of their employees stationed in seven tents on Capital Hill.

“The actual pickup and drop off locations are up here on Capit[a]l Hill, Department of Labor Office Building No. 1334, and then also the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library is a drop-off area. Just those two areas for today,” Benavente added.

Application forms are also available for pick up at the library and the Saipan Mayor’s Office. Applicants are asked to read the instructions and the handbook included in the PUA applications package, before actually filling out the applications, and to call the department for any questions.

Aside from pick-ups, Labor has also begun accepting application submissions via beginning Wednesday. For issues applicants have reported about the portal so far, Benavente promises to have them fixed within 48 hours.

“The issues are online, the portal is still trying to get used to the ‘Northern Marianas,’ It is reading some information as, for example, Arkansas, and so we’re working on those issues today. We promise to have them fixed within 24 to 48 hours,” she said. “We expected some glitches but we’re also expecting them to be resolved as expeditiously as possible. We have a website vendor based in the mainland. They have contacts with Guam, as well as the region and the territories.”

Benavente expressed appreciation to the members of the community for their patience concerning the PUA and FPUC application. “The patience has been wonderful. Our people have been waiting for weeks and months and so my appreciation to them has been expressed many a time throughout this whole process. The applications will be processed and then the PUA, the public benefits, will be helping so much of our community. That’s going to be a big relief for many people and their families.”

Iva Maurin | Correspondent
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at
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