PUA payout extended to June 2023

Benavente says $400,000 dispersed every week to PUA applicants; 1,900 applicants still waiting for their benefits

Vicky Benavente

Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente disclosed Friday that they got an extension to June 2023 on the administrative side as well as payout for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. That means there is still hope for some PUA applicants who have yet to receive their benefits.

Speaking at the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee’s hearing on Labor’s budget for fiscal year 2023, Benavente said that under the new extension, they are mandated by U.S. Labor to finish the PUA program by June 2023, or a year from now.

Each week, Benavente said, they are administering over $1 million in benefits starting from the closure of PUA back in in 2021. Through today, they have about $400,000 that are still being dispersed every week to PUA applicants who have just turned in documents or completed the submission of certain requirements for their benefits.

She said that about 1,900 applicants are still waiting to receive some PUA benefits but they are being blocked because they may have an issue with their original applications.

She said the issues include overpayment or missing document, or an investigation has been started because of inaccurate or something that’s wrong with their application. “So basically, we’re still administering benefits to a few more applicants,” Benavente said.

As of Jan. 15, 2022, unemployed individuals in the Marianas have received $261 million from PUA and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs that Congress created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

In August 2021, Benavente disclosed that they have traced $31.3 million overpayments in PUA, FPUC, and Lost Wages Assistance, and collected $28 million from such overpayments.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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