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Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program

The Government of Guam, along with the Guam Department of Labor (GDOL), is currently working with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to create the guidelines and application process for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

The PUA program provides temporary benefits to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of COVID-19. Direct result means loss of employment or self-employment because of a reason directly related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The PUA program, in general, provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits. Guam’s PUA Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) is $345 a week. Employees who have been laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19 qualify for the full amount. Employees still working but making less than $345 a week qualify for PUA minus their wages. Those making $345 or more do not qualify for PUA.

The process for applying also is currently being created by both the USDOL and GDOL. Mandatory quarantine procedures are also taken into consideration to ensure the safety of everyone and to create the best possible option.


Some caregivers, part-time workers may qualify for PUA

Residents working part-time jobs and residents who work reduced hours while taking care of someone at home may qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. 

Guam Department of Labor Director David Dell'Isola spoke with the U.S. Department of Labor this week and received further clarity on the federal unemployment program's qualifications.

The island has struggled with benefits eligibility after Dell'Isola announced last month that employees working reduced hours no longer qualified for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance due to the federal agency's guidelines. The program last year granted benefits to both unemployed residents and those who remained employed but worked fewer hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are some exceptions in the law applying to caregivers and part-time workers, Dell'Isola said. 

More:No answer yet from federal officials on reduced-hour worker benefits

Part-time jobs

"If you were laid off from your main place of employment, and if you had part-time job, or if you go out and later on get a part-time job, you can still qualify for PUA," Dell'Isola said Thursday. "You just have to claim that income." 

"Only if you lose your main place of employment," he emphasized, adding that some people work two jobs, but "most of the time one of them is a main place, and the other is a part-time. So if you have that part-time, you would just claim the income, and you would still qualify." 


Staff members provide help to individuals interested in filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in this June 5, 2020, file photo. Residents working part-time jobs and residents who work reduced hours while taking care of someone at home may qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

In addition, those who work reduced hours at their place of employment while caring for someone at home — a child, senior or other dependent — can qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. 

"The only time reduced hours is allowed is if you're taking care of a family member or kids from school," he said. "If you're caregiving, or because the schools are not fully open, and therefore your kids are at home a lot and you need to make sure someone is home taking care of the kids, that is an eligible criteria." 

Self-employed individuals, gig workers or independent contractors whose income is diminished due to the COVID-19 pandemic also remain qualified for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. 

Filing claims

Residents can continue to file claims at

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which adds $300 to weekly benefits, expires March 13. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimants will begin reaching their 50-week limit by mid-March as well. The program expires in mid-April, barring a federal extension of the program. 

Biden's proposed relief package, if passed, would extend unemployment benefits to September. 

Reporter Anumita Kaur covers military, business and tourism on Guam. Follow her on Twitter @anumitakaur. Reach her at [email protected] 

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Please note: You may choose to receive your unemployment benefits by direct deposit or on a debit card. Prior to choosing how you would like to receive your benefits, you must review the debit card disclosure information that explains all the fees relating to the benefits card program.

How to sign up

You must sign up for direct deposit online.

  • Sign up when you apply for unemployment benefits. You’ll need your bank or credit union account and routing numbers. They are displayed on your check.

  • If you already have applied for benefits, wait 24 hours and then you can:
    1. Sign in to eServices.
    2. Click on Settings in the upper right of the page.
    3. Under I want to, choose Update payment information and follow the instructions.

Apply for, change or cancel direct deposit 

Sign up for a debit card instead 

Frequently asked direct deposit questions

Q. Can I apply for direct deposit if my bank is not in the United States?
A. No. Direct deposit is available only with banks or credit unions within the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. We can’t send direct deposit payments to banks or credit unions in other countries, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands or American Samoa.

Q. What if I didn't sign up for direct deposit when I first applied for unemployment benefits?

A. You must wait at least 24 hours from when you applied for benefits.

Q. What happens if I had direct deposit on an old claim and I file a new claim?

A. If you restart a claim, direct deposit stays active unless you change or cancel it.

If you open a new claim, the eServices website will give you the option to keep or change your payment method. If you don’t choose direct deposit, it will be cancelled and any account information on record will be removed from your claim.

Q. How long does it take after I sign up?

A. Direct deposit takes effect immediately. One exception: If you sign up after 5 p.m. on a business day and we already have a payment ready to send to you, you’ll get the payment via your previous method. Then, your next payment will be directly deposited into your account.

Q. When is money available in my account?

A. We transfer benefits to your bank or credit union within one business day after you submit your weekly claim. But your bank or credit union might take a few days to apply the funds to your account.

Q. I have been receiving my payment by direct deposit, but my weekly payment did not show up in my account. What do I do?
A. Contact your bank or credit union to see if a problem with your account prevented the deposit. We must wait at least seven calendar days from when we issued the payment before we can track it.

Q. Is my personal information secure?
A. Yes. We use a secure website. If you remain on any page for 15 minutes, the application times out and your information is not saved. This prevents someone else from paging back to view your personal information. Employment Security Department staff do not have access to your bank or credit union information.

Q. What happens if I make an error when keying my bank account information and I don’t know it?
A. If you enter incorrect account information, we can’t deposit your payment to your account and we remove the incorrect information from our system. We can’t correct the error, but we’ll send you a letter to inform you. In the meantime, we’ll send you a paper check for any benefits you’re qualified to receive.

To correct your information on our eServices website, follow the steps in the How do I change, correct or cancel my direct deposit? question below.

Q What if I change my account?
A. If you change your account or routing information, you must update that information in your eServices account. Otherwise, you won’t receive your payments. Update your information by following the steps in the question below.

How do I change, correct or cancel my direct deposit?
A. Follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your eServices account
  2. Click on Settings in the upper right of the page
  3. Select Update payment information under I want to
  4. Follow the instructions

Q. How long will direct deposit last?
A. Once you enter your direct deposit information, it stays on your claim until:

  • You cancel it, or
  • You change the information, or
  • We remove it. We do this only if your bank or credit union rejects the payment.

If you restart a claim, direct deposit stays active unless you change or cancel it.

If you open a new claim, the eServices website will give you the option to keep or change your payment method. If you don’t choose direct deposit, it will be cancelled and any account information on record will be removed from your claim.

Q. Will I get direct deposit payment receipts in the mail?
No. Your bank or credit union statement will show the deposits.




The US Department of Labor has approved state labor agencies to implement the work search requirement for pandemic unemployment claimants in order to remain eligible for benefits.

Starting on Aug. 1, Guam participants must actively perform three work searches a week in order to continue to claim for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.

Proof of work searches need to be submitted with weekly claims every two weeks. A paper form will be available on for claimants to use to keep a record of their weekly searches.

There are multiple ways to satisfy making three work search contacts. These include:

● Registering for work on
● Visiting the American Job Center or other employment agency.
● Applying for jobs by submitting a resume or interviewing.
● Inquire about job openings and apply in person.
● Attending a job fair, or other employment workshop that offers instruction on upskilling
candidates in order to obtain employment.

With each weekly claim, applicants must certify if they are able and available for work. This requirement to claim benefits is part of the job search process. Note, if you do not perform the work search, you could be disqualified for that week.

One of the easiest ways to fulfill the requirement is to use, the Labor Department’s free online job bank.

If you are a PUA claimant, you already have your individual account and are registered with the Guam Department of Labor’s American Job Center.

To get the most out of work search on, claimants should fill out the “My Background” portion of their profile found on their dashboard under “My Personal Profile.” Here you can enter your education background, employment history, upload your resume and more. Then you can use the site to search for open positions.

“The more information you put into your background, the better can match you with the right job opportunities. Without the information, the system may not be able to match you properly.

Inputting your background information can also fill one job search requirement for PUA,” said Department of Labor Director David Dell’Isola.

There are a few groups that are exempt from the work search requirement. These include:

● Employees working reduced hours.
● Individuals in an approved job training program.
● Self-employed persons working to reestablish their business to its pre-pandemic state.

“Performing these work searches not only keeps you on PUA, but also helps prepare you for when the unemployment assistance ends Sept. 4. In order to continue to qualify for PUA assistance, USDOL requires our unemployed population to actively search for gainful employment. Use our free job bank, attend job fairs and reach out to employers. There are jobs available and with PUA ending, it’s time to get back to work,” Dell’Isola said.

How to record Job Search Contacts

A new window will appear in your weekly certification after you answer the eligibility question, “Were you still unemployed or partially unemployed as a direct result of this COVID-19 public health emergency…”

The new window is called “Job Contacts.” Here the system will ask if you’ve made any job contacts during the claim week. Please note that if you do not perform three work search contacts, or if you do not record them in the system, you may be disqualified from receiving benefits for that week.

After clicking “Yes,” it’s time to fill out information on your work search contacts.

● Enter employer/business name and contact information; (including name and address.)
● Next enter the title of the job for which you are applying.
● Under “Job Occupation,” search for the occupation that most closely matches your job title.
● Continue to follow the prompts to answer required questions that are marked with an asterisk.
● Enter the date you made contact with the employer.
● Next, mark your status with the job, i.e. application stage, interview stage, etc.

● The system will ask if you have additional job contacts to enter. Make sure you enter all three job contacts you made for the week in order to qualify for the weekly benefit.

If you click “No” when the system asks if you have made any job contacts, a warning message will appear. Failure to input work search information “could affect your eligibility.” Click “Cancel” to go back and enter the information. If you click “OK,” one more warning message will appear. If you click “OK” to the final warning, you will not be able to go back and update your answer and you may be denied benefits for the week.

“If there is an issue or any concerns, please call 311. We will work with you to try and find a resolution,” Dell’Isola said.

(GDOL Release)



For guam applying unemployment

Guam delegate works to address Pandemic Unemployment Assistance ineligibility

Guam Del. Michael San Nicolas is assuring residents he is working to address concerns that some of them may be ineligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

Guam Department of Labor Director David Dell'Isola on Thursday said the U.S. Department of Labor held firm that employees working reduced hours aren't qualified for PUA.

This means residents working any amount of hours and receiving any amount of pay are no longer qualified for unemployment benefits. Last year, residents working reduced hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic could make up to $494 a week and be qualified.

The latest guidance impacts thousands on island.

Related: 'It was very concrete': Federal labor agency maintains reduced-hour workers won't get PUA

San Nicolas said he's engaged on the issue on multiple fronts.

"The extension of PUA in December did not change the law regarding eligibility, so no one eligible to receive should be getting cut off," San Nicolas said.

Del. Mike San Nicolas talks with constituents about a host of issues during the delegate's first town hall in this file photo. PDN FILE PHOTO

He said his office has verified California, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington are still accepting partial PUA applications, as is the CNMI. He said Guam's cutoff is inconsistent with the law and out ofd an abundance of caution has notified the Biden administration and the Democratic Caucus of the circumstances.

More:Ex-mayor to Yona residents: I am truly sorry

During the period of the CARES ACT many businesses shut down and subsequently re-opened with Paycheck Protection Program loans, only to find themselves reducing operations and worker hours when loan resources dried up, he said. Businesses that hired new workers and reduced their hours would have a workforce likely ineligible for local unemployment insurance and dependent on federal PUA, he added.

"If these workers were being cut off anywhere else in the country, there would be public uproar, and the fact that there is none underscores our concern that the Guam cutoff is not the reality anywhere else, and the director of Guam DOL has not been able to verify otherwise," San Nicolas said.

San Nicolas said he's has secured a cross-section of members of Congress from across the country to have the Biden administration review the program to make sure it is being applied fairly and not cutting off anyone.

More:SNAP Supplemental Emergency Allotment out today

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Top 10 mistakes on Guam's PUA application
  1. What Is Unemployment Insurance?
  2. What Are Unemployment Insurance Benefits?
  3. How to Qualify for Unemployment Benefits
  4. When to Apply for Unemployment
  5. How to Apply for Guam Unemployment Insurance
  6. How Unemployment Insurance Benefit Amounts Are Calculated
  7. I Just Applied for Unemployment Insurance. Now What?
  8. What Happens After You Are Approved for Unemployment Benefits?
  9. How to Appeal an Unemployment Insurance Denial
  10. Need More Help?
  11. View or Download Our Free Guide

What Is Unemployment Insurance?

Unemployment Insurance is a benefit program designed to replace part of the income of recently unemployed or underemployed workers. Unemployment Insurance is available to workers who are out of work through no fault of their own.

Learn more about Unemployment on Guam’s Unemployment Program Overview page here.

What Are Unemployment Insurance Benefits?

Unemployment Insurance Benefits are weekly payments given to eligible workers who apply to and are accepted into the program. These payments are typically provided via direct deposits to the beneficiary’s bank account.

Learn more about how Unemployment Insurance payments work here.

How to Qualify for Unemployment Benefits

To qualify for Unemployment Insurance in Guam, you must:

  • Have lost your job due to no fault of your own.
  • Be able to work.
  • Be actively seeking work.
  • Meet Guam’s monetary and personal eligibility requirements.

Learn more about Guam’s monetary and personal eligibility requirementshere.

When to Apply for Unemployment

Apply for benefits online here during the week you are seeking payment, when your hours have been reduced or when you are no longer employed. Do NOT wait until the week is over.

How to Apply for Guam Unemployment Insurance

To apply for Pandemic Unemployment Insurance in Guam, complete the following three steps:

  1. Gather the documentation related to your previous employment and information you will need for the application.

Learn what documents and information you need here.

  1. Register with HIREGUAM online.

To apply for Pandemic Unemployment Insurance online, click here to access Guam’s Unemployment claim portal.

You can use the computer and internet available at local libraries or obtain help at the processing center established at Guam Community College at:

1 Sesame St
Mangilao, Guam

The Guam Unemployment Office accepts claims in person on a limited basis. You must not have access to the internet and you must make an appointment by calling one of the following numbers:

    • (671) 988-3672
    • (671) 788-0729
    • (671) 689-1872
  1. Submit the Unemployment application, which is also known as filing a claim.

For any application issues, you can reach a customer service representative by sending an email to [email protected]

You can also call the GDOL customer service center at (671) 475-7000 or (671) 475-7001. Guam customer service phone lines are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM ChST.

How Unemployment Insurance Benefit Amounts Are Calculated

The amount of Unemployment Benefits you receive is based on your past reported earnings by employers that you worked for in Guam. To determine the amount you will receive each week, the Guam Department of Labor looks at your earnings during the base period.

The maximum weekly benefit amount is $345.

Learn more about Guam’s base period and how benefits are calculated here.

I Just Applied for Unemployment Insurance. Now What?

  1. Report Your Waiting Week

The week after you file your unemployment claim is called the Waiting Week. During the Waiting Week, you must file a Weekly Certification Application through the claimant portal here and the Unemployment Office will make sure you are still unemployed or underemployed, and meet all other eligibility requirements. If approved, you will begin receiving your weekly benefits the following week. You are not paid for the Waiting Week, but you do receive a Waiting Week credit.

Learn more about the Weekly Certification Applicationhere.

  1. Start Looking for Work

Keep track of your work-search contacts. You are required to make at least two contacts per week to receive payments and waiting week credit.

  1. Discuss Possible Issues

If you were discharged or quit your last job, expect a call (or email if that is your preferred contact method) to determine if you are eligible for unemployment insurance.

Learn more about what to expect after applying here.

What Happens After You Are Approved for Unemployment Benefits?

You must file a Weekly Certification Application every week you are receiving Unemployment Benefits until you are employed again. This weekly claim is like a follow-up application that certifies your continued eligibility for the program and proves you are actively applying for new jobs.

Learn more about the Weekly Certification Applicationhere.

File your Weekly Certification Application here.

It’s important to remember that you will stop receiving Unemployment Benefits and your Unemployment Claim will be canceled if you have not filed Weekly Certifications for two or more consecutive weeks.

How to Appeal an Unemployment Insurance Denial

If your Pandemic Unemployment Insurance application was denied, you have the right to file an appeal. You will receive instructions concerning appeal rights and deadlines for the timely filing of appeals from the Guam Department of Labor along with your eligibility letter in the mail.

Need More Help?

If you have general questions about Guam PUA Benefits or an Unemployment Insurance claim, call the GDOL customer service center at (671) 475-7000 or (671) 475-7001.

Guam customer service phone lines are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM ChST.

For any application issues, you can reach a customer service representative by sending an email to [email protected]

To find more information on Guam Unemployment Benefits and Services, visit:

  • The Guam Department of Labor website here.
  • The Guam DOL Frequently Asked Questions page here.

To find more information about COVID-19’s impact on Guam Unemployment Insurance, visit the Guam Department of Labor COVID-19 information page here.

If you have a question about Guam Employer Unemployment Insurance, visit the Guam Department of Labor Employer Registration page here.

View or Download Our Free Guide

While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the Unemployment Insurance program and compiled a guide and the following answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing useful information on the process.

Our free Unemployment Insurance Guide is filled with helpful information about how to apply, program eligibility and how to get in touch with local offices. You can view or download our free guide here.


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Justice News

Hagatña, Guam – SHAWN N. ANDERSON, United States Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, announced that defendant Jerome Michael Cruz, age 26, from Barrigada, Guam, was sentenced in the United States District Court of Guam to ten months imprisonment for Federal Program Theft in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 666(a)(1)(A) and (b) and Accessing Protected Computer in Furtherance of Fraud  in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(4) and (c)(3)(A).  The Court also ordered three years of supervised release following imprisonment, $14,210.00 in restitution, and a mandatory $200 special assessment fee. 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) created a temporary federal unemployment insurance program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA, administered by the Guam Department of Labor (GDOL), provides unemployment insurance benefits for individuals who are unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and those who are not covered by typical unemployment programs (e.g., the self-employed, independent contractors, or gig economy workers). 

Jerome Michael Cruz was employed by GDOL as a Customer Service Representative assisting the public with PUA and FPUC claims. While employed, Cruz filed a claim for PUA benefits on his own behalf, falsely certifying that he was unemployed and eligible for benefits. Cruz used his knowledge and privileged access to the GDOL computer system to modify existing PUA claims and to submit fraudulent PUA claims on behalf of other persons while directing the benefits from these fraudulent claims into a bank account he controlled.  As part of the scheme, Cruz logged in to the GDOL system using other employee’s credentials to certify and approve these fraudulent claims.  From September 2020 through November 2020, Cruz obtained and attempted to obtain a total of $93,000 in benefits.

United States Attorney Anderson stated, “Unemployment assistance has provided vital support to many people suffering from the economic effects of the pandemic.  Nationwide, the scale of fraud related to the disbursement of CARES Act funds has been staggering.  While Guam has not seen the same level of criminal activity, this case reveals that it is occurring.  Any theft by a government employee in a position of trust should concern the public.  I applaud GDOL for holding its employees accountable.”

FBI Honolulu Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Steven B. Merrill stated, “The money in the government's financial assistance funds—particularly during a crisis like a pandemic—are essential to people’s survival. This case is an example of an individual who chose to line his own pockets with money intended to help those who truly need it. Thanks to the partnership and hard work of the Guam Department of Labor and United States Attorney's Office, we were able to stop this. And to those criminal opportunists out there I say: the FBI is watching, we will catch you, and you will learn the price for defrauding your fellow citizens."

Guam Department of Labor Director David Dell'Isola stated, "I want to thank the FBI who worked so quickly to bring this case to conclusion. We hope this sets an example and discourages others from putting in fraudulent claims."

This case was a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Guam Department of Labor.  The case was prosecuted by Benjamin K. Petersburg, Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Guam.


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