CNMI DOL announces second round of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) for the CNMI

February 11, 2021 - The CNMI Department of Labor (DOL) will begin accepting applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) as a result of COVID-19 for affected workers in the CNMI starting February 16, 2021 through March 13, 2021.

WHAT IS PUA?
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. The PUA program, through the Continued Assistance Act (CAA), provides eligible applicants in the CNMI with 11 weeks of unemployment benefits starting on December 27, 2020 to March 13, 2021.

WHAT IS FPUC?
Under the CAA, for weeks of unemployment beginning after December 26, 2020 and ending on or before March 14, 2021, an individual collecting PUA may collect a $300 FPUC payment per week.

WHO CAN APPLY FOR PUA/FPUC?
Due to the extensive nature of the eligibility conditions and requirements for PUA, please consult the “PUA/FPUC Benefits Rights Information Handbook” found on the CNMI Department of Labor’s website at: http://www.marianaslabor.net, under “Forms and Publications” for details.

APPLICATION FILING DATES
Individuals may apply for PUA if they have had a week(s) of full or partial unemployment on or after December 27, 2020 through March 13, 2021 as a result of COVID-19. Individuals may file applications for PUA one week from the date of this announcement, starting February 16, 2021 and ending March 13, 2021.

HOW AND WHERE TO APPLY
ONLINE: Claimants may apply for PUA either online or in person. Submit a PUA application online at the following address: www.hiremarianas.com.
PAPER: PUA applications and other forms may also be obtained and submitted at either of the following location(s):

Saipan:
Department of Labor
Division of Employment Services
Building # 1334, Ascension Dr.
Capitol Hill, Saipan MP 96950
Rota:
Northern Marianas College
Room #A2
Rota, MP 96951
Tinian:
Department of Labor
Edu's Plaza, 1st Floor
San Jose Village
Tinian, MP 96952

*NEW Paper Application Submission Instructions: To combat the effects of COVID-19, the Saipan PUA Program is strictly implementing the following application submission schedule from February 16, 2021 to March 15, 2021 (Monday - Friday) from 8:00am to 3:00pm:

Monday: Only accepting paper application submissions for last names “A” to “C”
Tuesday: Only accepting paper application submissions for last names “D” to “H”
Wednesday: Only accepting paper application submissions for last names “I” to “M”
Thursday: Only accepting paper application submissions for last names “N” to “R”
Friday: Only accepting paper application submissions for last names “S” to “Z”

Important Notes: In consideration of the February 16th opening date falling on a Tuesday, the Department will also be accepting paper applications for last names beginning with “A” to “C” along with “D” to “H” only. In consideration of the application end date falling on a Saturday (March, 13, 2021), the Department will accept paper application submissions on the Monday (March 15, 2021) following the deadline.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
*NEW: Individuals filing a new PUA application on or after January 31, 2021 (regardless of whether the claim is backdated), are required to provide documentation within 21 days of the application or the date the individual is directed to submit the documentation by CNMI DOL, whichever is later.

*NEW: Individuals who applied for PUA before January 31, 2021 and receive a payment of PUA on or after December 27, 2020 (regardless of which week ending date is being paid), are required to provide documentation substantiating employment or self-employment, or the planned commencement of employment or self-employment, within 90 days of the application or when directed to submit documentation by CNMI DOL, whichever is later.

To receive PUA, individuals must submit in-person or upload online the following:
(1) A government issued picture identification (Driver’s license, passport, alien registration card, etc.), (2) Social Security Card number, (3) If applicable, copies of the most recent federal income tax form(s), check stubs, and other proof of earnings, and (4) If applicable, evidence of self-employment earnings, business license, including financial documents such as 2017 Federal/CNMI income tax forms, profit and loss statement, and proof of business loss due to the disaster.

ALL INQUIRIES
Individuals who have questions about the PUA/FPUC programs are encouraged to email info@puamarianas.com or call any of the following numbers between 8:00 am through 4:00 pm, Monday – Friday, except on holidays.

Saipan: (670) 322-8870/71/72/73
Rota: (670) 989-9001
Tinian: (670) 989-9000 or 433-0889

FURTHER INFORMATION
Individuals who are determined eligible for PUA must file weekly claim certifications (to demonstrate their continued eligibility) either in person or online by using any of the filing methods described above. Continued eligibility is determined on a week-by-week basis. Please consult the “PUA/FPUC Benefits Rights Information Handbook” found on the CNMI Department of Labor’s website at: http://www.marianaslabor.net, under “Forms and Publications” for details. 

Individuals who willfully conceal material facts or knowingly making false statement(s) to obtain PUA to which they are not entitled will be required to repay all benefits fraudulently collected and may be subject to prosecution under 18 U.S.C. 1001.

FRAUD HOTLINE
Individuals are encouraged to call 670-989-9095 to report any perceived instances of wrongdoing or fraud pertaining to the PUA/FPUC programs.


PUBLIC NOTICE

RE: MONETARY DETERMINATION NOTICES

The CNMI Department of Labor - PUA Program is aware of "PUA Monetary Determination" notices being sent in error by its vendor.  A current critical work order has been sent to the vendor to rectify the situation. Please disregard those notices and continue to follow all PUA guidance on the CNMI Department of Labor website at: http://www.marianaslabor.net. We apologize for the inconvenience.

RE: 1099Gs

The CNMI Department of Labor - PUA Program is working with the CNMI Department of Finance on making all 1099G corrections.  As soon as all corrections have been made, the PUA Program will notify all individuals.



CNMI DOL advises claimants to disregard 1099-G attachments received via hiremarianas.com

January 28, 2021 - The CNMI Department of Labor (CNMI DOL) has received notification that certain individuals are receiving incorrect 1099-G tax information for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program via hiremarianas.com.

The Department is currently addressing the issue and would like to inform PUA recipients to disregard electronic messages sent by “POSTMASTER” today, January 28, 2021.  These messages contain incorrect 1099-G tax information and are sent with the following subject matter: “Certain Government Payments 1099G.”

Updates regarding this matter will be addressed in subsequent public announcements from CNMI DOL.



 

Labor prepares for reopening of PUA program for new applications

January 25, 2021 - The CNMI Department of Labor (DOL) last week provided updates on changes involving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) eligibility as a result of the Continued Assistance Act (CAA).

The CAA includes Unemployment Insurance (UI) provisions that authorizes the extension of the PUA program in the Marianas through March 14, 2021, and expounds on the eligibility requirements and conditions necessary for obtaining PUA, among others.

“The Department is focused on preparing for the processing of applications for Continued Assistance and anticipates more applications to be submitted as soon as the program launches in the Marianas,” said Secretary of Labor Vicky Benavente. “The official opening date of the PUA program is fast approaching, so we are doing our best to prepare the community by providing pertinent PUA information.”

In a thorough review of Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL) 16-20, Change 4, CNMI DOL found that the eligibility requirements for PUA qualification have been expanded for Continued Assistance, but remains relatively the same. PUA claimants must continue to self-certify that their unemployment, partial unemployment, or inability or unavailability to work is specifically attributable to one or more of the COVID-19 related reasons specified in section 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii)(I)(aa) through (kk) of the CARES Act and must identify that specific reason for each week that PUA is claimed.

CNMI DOL found that the most prominent change to the PUA program (in relation to eligibility conditions) is the requirement for all claimants to provide documentation substantiating employment or self-employment, or the planned commencement of employment or self-employment.

Individuals filing a new PUA application on or after January 31, 2021 (regardless of whether the claim is backdated), are required to provide documentation within 21 days of [the] application or the date the individual is directed to submit the documentation by CNMI DOL, whichever is later. 

Individuals who applied for PUA before January 31, 2021 and receive a payment of PUA on or after December 27, 2020 (regardless of which week ending date is being paid), are required to provide documentation substantiating employment or self-employment, or the planned commencement of employment or self-employment, within 90 days of [the] application or when directed to submit documentation by CNMI DOL, whichever is later.

In response to the document submission requirement, the Department finds that potential claimants should prepare ahead of time by gathering employment documents prior to the official launch of the PUA program.

Types of acceptable documentation

In general, proof of employment includes, but is not limited to, paycheck stubs, earnings and leave statements showing the employer’s name and address, and W-2 forms when available. 

Proof of self-employment includes, but is not limited to, state or Federal employer identification numbers, business licenses, tax returns, business receipts, and signed affidavits from persons verifying the individual’s self-employment. 

Proof of employment with organizations such as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and educational or religious organizations includes, but is not limited to, documentation provided by these organizations and signed affidavits from persons verifying the individual’s attachment to such organizations. 

Proof of the planned commencement of employment includes, but is not limited to, letters offering employment, statements/affidavits by individuals (with name and contact information) verifying an offer of employment. 

Proof of the planned commencement of self-employment includes, but is not limited to, business licenses, state or Federal employer identification numbers, written business plans, or a lease agreement.  Individuals must present the proof of employment and the state may verify the proof submitted using records the state may have available, such as wage records or state revenue records. 

In a recent webinar conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, CNMI DOL learned that individuals who are not fully unemployed as a result of the pandemic may not qualify for PUA. In other words, claimants who work reduced hours as a result of the pandemic may not qualify for PUA.

The Department understands the magnitude of the situation and has since requested a conference meeting with the U.S. Department of Labor for clarification and resolution. Further developments will be issued in a separate press release.

Individuals who have questions about the PUA/FPUC programs are encouraged to contact the CNMI DOL via email at info@puamarianas.com or call the following telephone numbers: 322-8870/8871/8872/8873.

Visit CNMI DOL’s website at www.marianaslabor.net to download copies of applicable UIPLs or for more PUA/FPUC-related information.


CNMI DOL advises public to hold off on new PUA applications until USDOL approval is granted

The CNMI Department of Labor is informing the general public not to submit any PUA paper applications or online applications for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) extension, until official approval from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) has been received.

CNMI DOL will provide proper notification to the public once USDOL approval is official.

The CNMI DOL recently attended a webinar conducted by the USDOL, regarding the new Continued Assistance Act of 2020. The USDOL provided an overview of the new program dates and key program requirements for the coordination of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) Programs.

Secretary of Labor Vicky Benavente said there are additional changes in the new COVID-19 legislation, which the CNMI will be required to follow in order to participate in the federal unemployment assistance programs.

“There are also new requirements such as states must provide a method for employers to report individuals who refuse to return to work or refuse to accept an offer of suitable work. Once the Department receives approval to begin accepting PUA applications, we will be issuing an announcement with detailed instructions and requirements,” said Secretary Benavente.

For further information, contact the PUA Call Center at tel. 322-8870 / 322-8871 / 322-8873. 

Inquiries may also be emailed to info@puamarianas.com.


 

 

 


 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

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Last Updated 7/22/2021