Over 350 return overpaid PUA benefits

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The CNMI Department of Labor has gotten back Pandemic Unemployment Assistance from over 350 individuals who were determined to be ineligible for the program.

During a news briefing last Friday, Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente said that over 350 individuals paid back the benefits that were given them.

“As of last week, there was over 350 claimants that had returned the funds from PUA,” she said. Most of these were disqualified from receiving PUA because they were not U.S. citizens or for some other reasons.

When asked for the exact amount that has been repaid, Benavente said she did not have the exact computation and did not want to give a rough estimate.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, as of August, DOL has collected over $108,522.46 in PUA and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, FPUC, overpayments from ineligible applicants.

Claimants who are not U.S. citizens, green card holders, refugees, a specific category of EAD holder, etc., are not qualified for PUA based on USDOL guidelines and must return overpayments.

For claimants who received overpayment and want to return the benefits, they may call 322-9943/9944 or email bpc.cnmidol@gmail.com to report fraud/overpayment.

The Benefits Payment Control Unit will compile the information and, once it is proven that the claimant has been overpaid, an appointment will be made with the claimant to arrange a repayment plan.

Under federal guidance set by the U.S. Department of Labor, CNMI DOL plays a fundamental role in ensuring the integrity of the PUA/FPUC programs in the Marianas. Any individual who receives benefits payments as a result of an error, intentional or unintentional, will be contacted by the department to return those payments.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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