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December 17, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 14, 2012
Contact Information: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009
AUGUSTA—Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette urges people who anticipate that they will be filing unemployment claims now through early in the new year to file online. The first week of January is usually the busiest week of the year for unemployment claims as post-holiday seasonal layoffs occur at businesses around the state.
Commissioner Paquette advised workers, “If you are laid off, the best way to apply for unemployment is to file online at the Department of Labor’s unemployment website at www.file4ui.com.”
She noted that “although laid-off workers can phone in their unemployment claims, high call volumes mean longer wait times. Our website offers the most convenient way to file a claim 24 hours a day and also connects job seekers to resources that will help them get a new job. Our goal is to get everyone back to work.”
Workers need to be sure to use the correct website to file their claims. The department warns that there are many websites that offer to help laid-off workers file an unemployment claim. Some charge fees for the service, while others attempt to gather personal data on the people who use the sites. The safest way to file a claim online is by visiting www.file4ui.com .
People who do not have access to a computer or Internet are encouraged to use a computer at their local CareerCenter or public library. When jobseekers file online, they can also obtain additional career services, including registering for the Maine Job Bank.
Seasonal layoffs most often occur in the tourism, construction and retail sectors. Although claims typically increase right after Christmas, they drop off significantly in late winter as people begin to return to work.
In order to qualify to collect unemployment benefits, workers must have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, be actively seeking work and be able to accept new work. Workers who do not participate in a suitable work search or who do not document their work search risk losing unemployment benefits and could be required to pay back benefits they have received.
The most common type of unemployment fraud occurs when people return to work and continue to file for unemployment benefits. The department cross-matches unemployment claims with a number of other employer wage and tax filings, as well as other databases, to detect fraudulent claims activity. Penalties for committing unemployment fraud include significant fines and possible criminal prosecution.
For more information about unemployment benefits, please visit www.file4ui.com . Information and support for job seekers or those interested in changing careers are available at www.mainecareercenter.com .
*Unemployment filings peak annually in January*