CNMI Department of Labor Secretary Vicky I. Benavente on Wednesday said a list of 6,909 applicants eligible for the federal Lost Wages Assistance program will be sent to the Department of Finance in the coming days.

She said CNMI DOL has vetted 8,473 applicants for this program. Of this number, 6,909 have been deemed eligible.

Under the LWA program, depending on their eligibility, individuals will receive up to $900 for the full three weeks, $600 for two weeks, and $300 for one week.

Payments will be given as one lump sum check.

“Essentially, we have about $6 million in benefits to be issued for these applicants who are eligible for the Lost Wages Assistance Program,” Benavente said.

As for the 1,564 who aren’t eligible, Secretary Benavente said they may have been disqualified because of their employment status.

Several have been denied due to fraudulent claims, she added, noting that some claimants are not in the CNMI.

The LWA program grants come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and are intended for beneficiaries who have had reduced hours due to the disruptions caused by Covid-19.

The CNMI government began distributing the $7.7 million that was approved for the local LWA program after President Joseph Biden approved the Commonwealth’s request to waive the 25% matching fund requirement on March 23, 2021.

Reporter

K-Andrea is a Gates Millennium Scholar who earned her bachelor of arts degree in political science from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY. Since joining the MV team in Feb. 2020, she has been covering the political, environmental, and community beats.

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