• The Star Staff

Over $300 million approved for Unemployment, PUA in PR

By The Star Staff

Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced and Labor and Human Resources (DTRH by its Spanish initials) Secretary Carlos Rivera Santiago announced Wednesday the approval by the federal government of over $300 million in additional compensation beyond what has already been received by citizens whose workplaces have been compromised by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Thanks to the meeting we had yesterday with the administrator of Region 2 of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Tom Von Essen, today the administrator of FEMA, Peter Gaynor, informed us that Puerto Rico was included in the supplemental federal unemployment assistance program,” Vázquez said in a written statement. “This is of great help for many Puerto Ricans who have had to resort to receiving unemployment assistance due to the pandemic.”

Rivera Santiago added that “[t]he federal government issued specific guidelines for those who would be qualifying to receive this compensation.”

“The claimant for Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) has to be receiving $100 or more on a weekly basis to qualify,” he said.

The Labor secretary also detailed the process in which the money will be disbursed -- that each eligible citizen will receive three weeks retroactive to Aug. 1 ($900), and the remaining weeks will be subject to the approval and logistics established by FEMA.

The Puerto Rico government asked FEMA for six weeks, which is the maximum established by the program, and an initial disbursement of $339,871,532 was authorized for three weeks. At the moment, the DTRH is waiting for the transfer of these funds and for the federal government to inform it if FEMA will proceed with the authorization of the remaining three weeks that were originally requested.

Once the funds have been received, the claimant will not have to take any other steps, since the payments will be applied automatically.

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