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Cash Assistance Program targets help for private sector workforce

Lynn Pulou-Alaimalo
Applications begin in May for workers whose jobs are affected by COVID

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — ASG’s Human Resources Department will begin early next month the intake application process for the Cash Assistance Program (CAP), which will provide financial help for workers whose employment was affected due to COVID-19 restrictions.

And based on the DHR proposal submitted to the ASG Oversight Office for the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) executive director, Keith Gebauer, the CAP targets the private sector workforce, as many businesses were shut down under the COVID-19 emergency declaration on Feb. 22 — when the community spread of the deadly virus was first reported in the territory.

Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga announced earlier this month the establishment of the CAP programs for “impacted workers” and “impacted businesses due to current restrictions  — and the two programs are funded by the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds under the ARPA and will cover the period from February 22 to Apr. 18.

For “impacted workers” the CAP program is administered by DHR and Samoa News understands that $2.5 million is allocated for this program.

Human Resources director Lynn Pulou-Alaimalo submitted last month DHR’s proposal to Gebauer, outlining the measures and procedures in administrating the CAP program that will be overseen by DHR’s division of Pandemic Unemployment Assistant (PUA) — the local administrator of the federally funded program.

Pulou-Alaimalo noted in the submission that many employed residents have been impacted by the restrictions under the COVID-19 declarations.

She explained that DHR, under the PUA grant program worked with the U.S Labor Department (USDOL) to assist the territory’s unemployed population. “Unfortunately, since September 4, 2021, the program has closed applications and intakes and is now operating to audit and process reports for review” by the USDOL, she said. 

CAP dates and deadlines, outlined in a newly released notice by DHR, states that an online virtual public forum is scheduled for Apr. 28, with intake application to begin on May 2.

The Governor’s Office had announced earlier this month in a news release that the program will provide up to $240 per week for qualified workers who were impacted by Code Red restrictions between Feb. 22 and Apr. 18.

According to DHR public documents, those eligible for the program are applicants who “experienced pay cuts or furloughs from the private sector employment.”

And this includes workers who were “unemployed or underemployed”, who experienced a loss of income; and who experienced a reduction in working hours from Feb. 22 to Apr. 18 due to Code Red restrictions.

DHR also outlined required documents to apply for the CAP program, which it says is not designed to replace the individual’s wages but it’s to provide assistance as a result of a negative impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic or emergency declaration.

More details, information and application for the CAP on DHR online: (