September 10, 2020
For Immediate Release: September 10, 2020
Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 5
AUGUSTA - For the week ending September 5, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,100 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 1,700 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These claims represent about 1,500 individuals filing an initial claim.
About 35,500 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 22,000 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, just over 7,700 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 800 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.
Between March 15 and September 5, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.44 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.
The Department has handled approximately 184,400 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 89,500 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.3 million weekly certifications filed.
Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html .
The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.
During the week ending September 5, the Department cancelled about 350 initial claims and 50 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.
Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.
The Department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the Department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/
First Payments of Lost Wage Assistance Program to be Issued in Coming Days
Maine was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) funding which will temporarily add $300 to the weekly unemployment benefits of eligible Mainers.
The Department expects to issue the first round of payments in the coming days. Benefits will be paid retroactively starting with the week ending August 1, 2020. The payments will be made automatically based on unemployment claims received; individuals will not need to call or apply separately for this benefit.
Current guidance from FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor states that individuals are eligible for Lost Wages Assistance if:
- they are eligible for unemployment benefits
- they are eligible for a weekly benefit of at least $100
- they are unemployed, or are partially unemployed, as a direct result of the COVID-19.
Answers to frequently asked questions about the LWA program are posted on the Department of Labor's website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/. It will be updated as more information becomes available.
Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign Kicks-off September 15
Maines annual Hire-A-Vet campaign is back! Hire-A-Vet is a statewide effort to reach at least 100 employers who have committed to hire at least 100 veterans and military family members during a 100-day period. A kick-off event and hiring fair is being held virtually from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on September 15. Opening remarks will be followed by a virtual hiring fair from 1-4 p.m. with more than 200 expected employers looking to recruit veterans, military members, and civilians.
Employers can join the 2020 Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign and job seekers can get more information and register for the kick-off event by visiting: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/mhav/
The Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign provides support for employers to expand the hiring of veterans through a network of state and federal agencies, resources and nonprofits, education on military language and culture, recruiting and hiring assistance, and recognition for the hiring and advancement of veterans and military family members.
Individuals who are permanently separated from their employer must engage in work search activities each week in order to be eligible for benefits.
In response to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the Department expanded possible work search activities to include opportunities to enhance individual's marketability during these challenging economic times. Work search activities are:
- Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
- Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
- Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
- Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
- Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
- Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
- Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
- Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified More information and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: