State looking at solutions to speed up PUA identification process

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The end of the month is nearing, which means the end of the $600 unemployment plus up benefits for those under unemployment.

Meanwhile, people under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA are still waiting to their checks.

Many viewers have contacted KHON, saying they’ve been waiting for weeks and even months but haven’t seen anything.

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said it will be making an announcement soon on a solution that will speed up the process for many. However, for now, it remains slow.

“The claims that are still in process [are] because we do suspect fraud,” said Gov. David Ige in a press conference Thursday.

The state has paid out around $36 million to people filing fake claims, sometimes using the personal information of real Hawaii residents.

To stop more money from going out to the wrong people, the state started a new verification process.

The governor said it has been working so far. They have flagged social security numbers linked to the wrong names and claims where a person is requesting funds for someone who isn’t a sole proprietor or contractor and therefore don’t qualify for PUA.

As of July 30, about 9,000 claims are still undergoing verification.

However, not all are crooks trying to scam the system. Some are real people waiting for a check to help with their livelihood.

“We are looking at what’s the best way to confirm individuals, and we’re looking to providing access to DMV records and car registration records in addition to tax records,” said Governor David Ige.

He said another consideration is face to face appointments, but with COVID-19, they would have to ensure employees and claimants are protected first.

KHON will follow up with the DLIR on their solution and how it will work.

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