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Puerto Rico Labor Dept. confirms payout of $727M in jobless benefits

The Puerto Rico Labor Department has disbursed nearly $727 million in unemployment benefits to more than 210,000 beneficiaries since April 1, agency Secretary Briseida Torres said.

She said $569 million have been disbursed from the regular Unemployment Insurance Program in the past two months, including federal supplementary aid approved by the CARES Act, since April 4.

That figure is broken down into $132 million corresponding to local unemployment insurance benefit payments, while $437 million has been disbursed in federal supplemental aid. As of May 22, 160,707 people were receiving regular unemployment insurance benefits, she said.

Regarding the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, Torres said since it entered into effect on April 28, more than $157 million have been disbursed, including the payment of federal supplementary aid retroactive to April 4. In total, $20.6 million corresponds to the of weekly benefit payments from the PUA program, while $136.4 million corresponds to the $600 weekly supplementary aid.

Since, May 21, the agency has cut more than 55,000 checks averaging between $2,500 and $3,000 for the weeks accumulated since April 4, she said.

Supplemental federal aid is directly linked to the eligibility by applicants to receive unemployment benefits through any of the existing programs — whether regular, PUA or Disaster Unemployment (DUA), she said.

“This aid is available to anyone who is receiving unemployment benefits, but requires confirmation of eligibility for the corresponding periods, as supplemental aid depends on whether people are eligible to receive unemployment benefits,” she explained.

The Labor Department is currently issuing unemployment benefit checks to some 212,630 people in the different programs is manages.

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Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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