On Friday, March 27, 2020, US President Donald Trump signed into law a $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to provide emergency assistance and health care response to those affected by coronavirus pandemic.

According to press release from Palau’s Embassy in Washington D.C., some of the assistance under the CARES Act are extended to the U.S. territories including Freely Associated States (FAS) to include Palau.

Fifty-five million dollars ($55 million) worth of Technical Assistance Grants will be available through the Office of Insular Affairs of the Department of Interior.  This fund can be accessed through grant application by each of the eligible entities “based on their need”.

Information also states that Palauans or citizens of the FAS countries in the United States that have been laid off from their jobs are eligible to apply for and receive unemployment benefits. “FAS citizens, based on their immigration status as “non-immigrant aliens” lawfully residing and working in the United States are also eligible to receive a one-time direct deposit of up to $1,200 in accordance with the income bracket qualifications.”

Other funding under CARES Act that may be available to Palau and other FAS countries include $154 million to U.S. Department of Education for insular area schools and $200 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for nutrition assistance.

Embassy of Palau in Washington D.C. is working with US Administration and relevant federal agencies to further clarify issues relating to the Act.