April 29, 2021
For Immediate Release: April 29, 2021
Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending April 24
AUGUSTA - For the week ending April 24, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 150 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 1,850 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.
About 13,700 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,000 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 17,200 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.
Between March 15, 2020 and April 24, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.1 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.
The Department has handled approximately 254,500 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 111,000 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 3.8 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
CareerCenter services are available to help people identify and take their next steps to employment or training. It is a requirement that those receiving unemployment insurance benefits also be registered on the Maine JobLink, which includes a weekly newsletter for job seekers highlighting opportunities and training.
Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program
The Maine Department of Labor will begin accepting applications for the new Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program (MEUC) on April 29, 2021.
The MEUC program was created by the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 and provides a $100 supplemental benefit to certain individuals who had both employment and self-employment prior to becoming unemployed during the pandemic. The program is payable for weeks ending January 2, 2021 through September 4, 2021.
The program is intended for claimants who had at least $5,000 in net self-employment income, however qualified for state unemployment insurance benefits resulting in their self-employment income not being included in their benefit calculation. Individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are not eligible for MEUC benefits because their self-employment income has already been taken into consideration.
Payments to eligible claimants will be retroactive. If eligible, claimants would receive MEUC for each week January 2 through September 4, 2021 for which they received unemployment benefits.
An individual must be eligible to receive at least one dollar ($1) of underlying unemployment benefits for the claimed week to receive the full $100 MEUC for that week.
How individuals can apply:
Those who may be eligible for the program will be notified with instructions on how to apply through the mail and in their account correspondence.
Individuals who apply for MEUC are required to submit documentation showing their self-employment income in order for MDOL to determine eligibility. This documentation must be submitted to the Department by November 3, 2021.
The documentation must show net self-employment income of at least $5,000 during the most recent taxable year in which you filed your unemployment claim.
Acceptable documentation of self-employment income could include, but is not limited to:
- income tax return for the most recent taxable year ending prior to their application for unemployment compensation
- pay-check stubs
- bank receipts
- business records
- signed contracts
- billing statements
More information and FAQS will be added to our website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment
Maine Dept. of Labor awarded over $800,000 to support efforts to return unemployed to workforce more quickly
Maine has been awarded $823,061 from the U.S. Department of Labor to operate its Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessments (RESEA) program. The grant is part of more than $146 million awarded to workforce agencies in 48 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.
The Maine Department of Labor restarted its RESEA program on March 14, 2021. RESEA is a program that provides qualifying Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants with one-on-one coaching and relevant services to help them in their reemployment journey. The Department last offered the program from 2015-2017.
RESEA is run by MDOL's Bureau of Unemployment Compensation (BUC) and Bureau of Employment Services (BES), with the objective of reducing periods of unemployment by helping claimants find new, long-term employment quicker. Services are delivered through one-on-one meetings held virtually.
RESEA is a program focused on individualized assessments, reemployment services and referrals to support an individual who is receiving unemployment benefits return to work more quickly. It is one of many tools Maine has to introduce workers receiving unemployment benefits to services the broader workforce system provides.
More information on Maines RESEA program: https://www.maine.gov/labor/resea/
U.S. DOLs press release can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20210421
Partial Unemployment Benefit Calculator
Did you know that it is possible to accept temporary part-time work without losing all of your unemployment benefits? As long as the claimant continues to meet their responsibilities for receiving benefits, they may be able to earn wages from part-time work and still collect a partial benefit.
We have a new tool on our website that can help calculate how many hours a week someone could work and still collect partial benefits based on their weekly earnings. The calculator can be found on the below webpage, under "Looking for work?" https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/
Virtual Hiring Events
Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events.
Upcoming virtual hiring event: On April 29 from 2-4 p.m., Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual job fair for jobs in the Part-Time/Flex Jobs/ Remote Work/Work from Home Jobs fields.
The following employers will be a part of this event:
- ABC Behave LLC
- Associates for Training and Development
- Camp Nashoba
- FEDEX Ground
- Maine Health -Schooner Estates
- Sea Coast Management
- United Ground Express
- Woodfords Family Services
Job seekers can register by using this online form.
More information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov
MDOL Recommends Unemployment Claimants Call Thursdays and Fridays
If unemployment claimants have a question about their claim, the Department recommends that they call the unemployment phone line, 1-800-593-7660, between 8 am and 3 pm Monday-Friday. Call wait times continue to decrease on all days, however Thursdays and Fridays remain the days when call volume is at its lowest and usually have shorter wait times.
They can also leave a message 24/7 at https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html. They should only put in one message to avoid duplication.
The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.
The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.
The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.
During the week ending April 24, the Department cancelled 367 initial claims and two weekly claims suspected to be fraudulent.
The Department strongly recommends that claimants use a password that is unique to their unemployment account and is not used for anything else.
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/
All claimants are required to be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where claimants can upload their resumes and employers can post their job openings: https://joblink.maine.gov/
People can also call their local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to the persons individual needs.
More information, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at: https://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment
If an employer has offered work to an employee and that employee refused the work, the employer should notify the Department. A fact-finding would be held to determine if there was good cause for the refusal of work. If no good cause is determined, then the claimant would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Employers can report refusals of work here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/