Former Director of WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) Josephine Ulengchong had filed an appeal of her termination, confirmed WIOA Local Board Chairman Kalistus Ngirturong.

According to WIOA procedures, Ms. Ulengchong had 30 days from the date of her termination to appeal her termination.  Her appeal was sent to the WIOA Board before the expiration date and has been submitted to the WIOA State Board which has oversight over the Local Board. Response has not been issued by either boards on the appeal.

Meanwhile, WIOA is still waiting for the refund from Social Security for deductions that were made earlier on the benefits.  According to interim director Omdasu Ueki, Social Security Administration was scheduled to issue the payment at the end of August but requested for more time.  He added that SSA had said that they will issue payment this month.

Social Security Administration reported earlier that they will refund deductions to WIOA and WIOA will refund individual beneficiaries.

SSA had also said that they will refund the SS contribution deductions but not the Health Insurance deductions.  The health insurance payments went to pay insurance premiums of the beneficiaries and some of those have already utilized their insurance for medical services here as well as off-island medical services.  Interim director Ueki reported that SSA provided WIOA board two possible options to address health insurance refund issues. WIOA Board is yet to address the proposed options.  What the two options are, was not revealed at the time of this publication.

WIOA had deducted income tax, Social Security contributions and national health insurance premiums from the US CARES Act PUA and FPUC benefit payments and remitted them to Bureau Tax & Revenue and to Social Security Administration based on an interpretation that the benefits could be taxed.  This was later clarified as non-taxable and US Department of Labor had informed Palau that these deductions must be refunded back to those whose benefits were deducted.   National government has refunded back the deducted income tax.  Social Security Administration is still to refund Social Security and national health insurance deductions.

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