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WIOA (Palau Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) or commonly known as the WIA office located within PCC, is open to help unemployed individuals and people from the private sector whose jobs or sources of livelihoods have been terminated, reduced or cut due to COVID-19, apply for US federal assistance.

The assistance is called “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” a United States federal program to compensate those affected by the pandemic. This assistance is provided only to eligible Palauans, U.S citizens, and citizens of FSM and RMI.

Government statistics show that an expected 600-700 of these people are to apply and so far only a little over three hundred have applied.

All applicants will be registered in WIOA’s online system and once everyone is processed and approved, financial assistance will be provided.  The grant fund will be issued to Palau National Government, and in turn, WIOA will authorize the national government to issue checks to those approved individuals.

Although the process sounds simple, some individuals have it a little tougher when applying because they can’t or have a hard time providing certain documents.

A WIOA worker, let’s call her “Tammy” said “ some of the problems consist of individuals complaining about the requirements, whether it be resumes or documents such as invoice records because they don’t keep or can’t provide them.

Most of these complaints come from applicants who are self-employed fishermen and local vendors (chad ra makit), mostly made up of the older community who don’t keep or have records/invoice documents of the business they do. They also have a hard time providing a resume which can be difficult when needed to meet the requirements.

WIOA does its best to assist and even provide a blank fill in documents to help them out with the process of providing the required document.

Application consists of identification, social security number, resume, school documents, and income verification ( latest check stub including spouse’s income verification, if married), W2(2019), and SS/Pension benefits).

Applicants come from many different jobs: mechas/rubak el ou makit ( women/men local food vendors), boat operators, fisherman, United Airline employees, hotel employees, and tourism employees.

WIOA asks people to be patient and to stick with the process and that they are there to help make it easy as long as the individual is willing to work through it.