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December 29, 2006
Augusta– The first week of January is often the busiest time of year for new unemployment claims due to temporary layoffs after the holidays. This year, laid-off workers have new options for receiving unemployment and accessing information about their unemployment claims.
Workers who are eligible to receive unemployment benefits can now choose to have payments sent directly to their bank account rather than issued in the form of a check. Individuals using direct deposit will receive faster payment as they will no longer need to wait for the mail to deliver checks.
“Direct deposit benefits both the worker and the Maine taxpayer,” said Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman. “The worker receives the payment in a quick and confidential electronic transaction, and the process costs less because it doesn’t involve printing and mailing of paper checks and it cuts down on the number of lost and stolen payments.”
For the first time this year, workers will also have the ability to access information online about their recent unemployment claim activity, tax withholding information, and account balances. The information was previously only available by calling an Unemployment Claims Center.
The online access to claims information is available to customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service follows last year’s launch of online filing for new and weekly unemployment claims. The site can be securely accessed by any computer connected to the internet at www.file4ui.com.
Individuals can also file their weekly claims using an automated telephone process 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The automated Teleclaim system is available in English, French and Spanish. Both the online and telephone weekly claim systems are particularly helpful at this time of year when claim lines may be busy during usual business hours during the week. Workers can file their claims for the prior week in the evening or as early as Sunday so that their benefits are available as quickly as possible. The Unemployment Claims Center can be reached by calling 1-800-593-7660 or TTY: 1-888-457-8884.
“We are continuing to make the unemployment system more accessible and efficient for workers needing to file a claim,” said Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman. “Over the last two years, a number of new telephone and internet based services have helped us keep pace with the changing needs and expectations of customers while saving money at the same time.”
Commissioner Fortman encourages all laid-off workers and jobseekers to use the variety of services offered by Maine’s CareerCenters as part of their job search. Services for job seekers include job referrals, career counseling, job hunting workshops, labor market information, information on training and skills assessment. Specialized employment services for people with disabilities are also available in the CareerCenter. All CareerCenter services are offered at no-cost to the customer. More information can be found online at www.mainecareercenter.com or by calling 1-888-457-8883 or TTY: 1-800-794-1110.
The Maine Department of Labor website offers a variety of resources for Maine workers and businesses. Online services for workers include access to a national database of job postings, information about employee rights, and workplace safety and labor market information. Online services for employers include free job listings through the CareerCenter, labor posters, a guide to labor laws, and safety and workforce development resources. The Maine Department of Labor website can be found at www.maine.gov/labor.
The Maine Department of Labor is committed to promoting the safety and economic well being of all workers and businesses in Maine.