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CWs should get unemployment benefits, says Kilili

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U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan in a statement on Thursday said CNMI workers on CW-1 permits should receive the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provided in the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act.

Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan


With the implementation of furloughs in the private sector and, soon, in the public sector, many CNMI residents are seeking more information about the eligibility requirements of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Sablan said the CARES Act does not specifically include or exclude CWs from eligibility for unemployment assistance.
“CW workers and the businesses that employ them are essential to the Marianas economy,” Sablan said. “Making sure those workers have some means of support, even if their employing businesses have closed temporarily because of the coronavirus, will make it possible for the Marianas to recover more quickly, once the health crisis has passed.”
He said the CARES Act requires that an individual worker be able and is available to work within the meaning of state unemployment compensation law in order to be eligible for assistance. The CNMI, however, does not have an unemployment compensation law.
Sablan said he is now working in Washington, D.C. to ensure that the U.S. Department of Labor implements the law in a way that will include workers on CW-1 permits.
Under the CARES Act, CWs and other non-U.S. citizen taxpayers are generally eligible for the “recovery rebate” of up to $1,200 per individual or $2,400 per joint filers. But they must have resided in the Marianas for at least 31 days in 2020 and 183 days in the last three years.
Sablan told Variety that the U.S. Congress is now considering a 2nd CARES Act.
“We continue to work on CARES 2,” he added. “In the interim, we expect to pass emergency legislation doubling down on funds for Small Business Administration loans and grants, assistance to state and local governments, a 15% increase in food assistance programs, and additional funds for health workers.”

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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