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American Samoa is included in CARES Act unemployment benefits

Congresswoman Aumua Amata
A signed agreement between Labor Dept. and the state or territory is necessary
Sources: Media release from Cong. Aumua Amata's office

Washington, D.C. – Monday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata is welcoming U.S. Department of Labor publication of direction to states and territories for Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), an important step in getting this unemployment relief on the way.

“This is a major step in getting unemployment benefits to our people that are in need, including the added $600 checks from the CARES Act,” said Aumua Amata. “I want to thank Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia for this effort, and especially Senator Mike Crapo for accepting our special request to ensure American Samoa was included through the definition of ‘states’ in the CARES Act.”

Under this plan, “states” — specifically including Pacific territories and Freely Associated States that otherwise would not have had eligibility — administer an additional $600 weekly payment to eligible individuals without currently paying jobs. Congress provided for this benefit in Section 2104 of the historic $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020.

The Labor Department has published Unemployment Insurance Guidance Letter 15-20 (UIPL) that provides the structure for the unemployment checks distribution.

To provide assistance to those eligible, the benefit payments may begin as soon as the week after the execution of a signed agreement between the department and the state or territory. The timeline for these payments will vary. As states and territories begin providing this payment, eligible individuals will receive retroactive payments back to their date of eligibility or the signing of the state agreement, whichever came later. The CARES Act specifies that FPUC benefit payments will end after payments for the last week of unemployment before July 31 of this year.

“The $600 weekly unemployment compensation boost included in the CARES Act will provide valuable support to American workers and their families during this challenging time,” said Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia.

Amata advises independent and private schools of options under CARES Act

Washington, D.C. — Thursday, April 2 ,2020 — Congresswoman Aumua Amata let independent or private nonprofit schools, or church or faith-based schools in American Samoa know that Congress included them in the assistance options.

These assistance options are part of a joint program, the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program, between the U.S. Treasury and directly administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). This assistance follows the same principles as the similar help offered to churches and small businesses, based on similar categories of payrolls.

Please note: A primary qualification is to maintain or restore the paychecks of employees while applying to the government for the necessary assistance.

“It’s important to know that this program is meant to keep paychecks going to families during this hard time,” said Aumua Amata. “The program will help, in fact the SBA website was expanded and updated Friday, but this plan is for schools, nonprofits and small businesses that keep paying their people! This program has two goals, to help your employees weather the economic storm and to help your organization survive without crushing debt.“

Under the CARES Act, Section 1102, schools can apply for eight weeks in a forgivable loan covering basic obligations, especially payroll, but also mortgage interest, rent and utilities. The loan can be for more than eight weeks as needed up to a year’s expenses, with low 1 percent interest, including a six month delay in requiring payments on principal or interest.

The SBA will do away with most of the usual collateral requirements, personal guarantees, and SBA fees to make this assistance widely available.

Some may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loan, Section 1110, which hastens a smaller amount of up to $10,000 to the applicant and may not require payment.

“We appreciate our faith-based schools so much,” said Amata. “This program absolutely applies to you so that when this is over you can get right back to work serving, leading and ministering to our young people.”


This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), and private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19.

Apply if harmed by COVID-19 shutdowns or losses between February 15, 2020, and June 30, 2020. This program is retroactive to February 15, 2020, in order to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls. Loans are available through June 30, 2020. To have the full 8-weeks of allowable costs forgiven, apply before May 5, 2020!

Please contact your lender to begin the application.

Start here at the SBA link.