CNMI DOL learned on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, 2020, that it met federal reporting requirements for obtaining the additional $27.5 million in FPUC funding.

“This has been the culmination of a month-long effort between our Department and the USDOL, so this is welcoming news for the CNMI”, said Secretary of Labor Vicky Benavente.  “As of Nov. 12, 2020 a total of 36,602 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and FPUC claims were processed through the portal.  Of these, 17,931 claims were confirmed as fraudulent and ineligible applicants.  The claims data, which was reported  by CNMI DOL to the U.S. Department of Labor, indicated that unemployment fraud had greatly affected the timeliness of processing legitimate PUA claims in the CNMI.”

Current estimates from the CNMI Department of Finance confirms that the additional $27.5 million in FPUC funds will cover benefits payments for the month of September through November 2020.

 “The eligible PUA claimants will be receiving FPUC benefits, either by direct deposit or paper check, within the next few weeks. Claimants who opted for paper checks will be contacted by DOL to confirm their mailing address and to confirm if they wish to pick up their check instead of DOL mailing the check.  The PUA claimants will be given a pickup date and time by the DOL staff.  We ask that claimants do not visit the DOL offices, unless they are contacted by DOL staff.  It’s imperative that we continue to follow the safety and  health protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the CNMI,” added Benavente.

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