May 6, 2021
For Immediate Release: May 6, 2021
Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending May 1
AUGUSTA - For the week ending May 1, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,400 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 1,600 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.
About 13,550 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,200 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 17,100 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 May 1, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.1 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.
The Department has handled approximately 255,900 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 111,300 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.
Some Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Claimants will Need to Provide Proof of ID and All Will Need to Provide Proof of Employment
The federal Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 requires that the Maine Department of Labor verify the identity of all new PUA applicants before the claim is processed. It is also a federal requirement that PUA recipients provide proof of employment. MDOL will be sending out letters to PUA claimants who have not yet been asked to provide this information.
More information and walk-through guides of how to upload ID and proof of employment documents are available on the website: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/puaemployment/
Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program
The Maine Department of Labor began 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.
More information and FAQS are available on our website: 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 events: Over the next couple of weeks, Maine CareerCenters are hosting a series of virtual hiring fairs for jobs in the Hospitality Sector across the state.
- Southern Midcoast: May 11 from 2-4 p.m.
- Greater Central/Western Maine: May 12 from 2-4 p.m.
- Northeastern: May 21 from 2-4 p.m.
Job seekers can register for any of these hiring fairs 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 May 1, the Department cancelled 342 initial claims and one weekly claim 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 person's 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/