May 27, 2021
For Immediate Release: May 27, 2021
Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending May 22
AUGUSTA - For the week ending May 22, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,000 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 200 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In total, approximately 1,300 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.
Unemployment claims filed each week continue to steadily decline. About 11,600 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 12,700 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 16,400 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 22, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.2 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.
The Department has handled approximately 259,400 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 111,700 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4 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
Traditional Work Search Requirements Reinstated:
The Maine Department of Labor reinstated traditional work search requirements for people receiving unemployment benefits on May 23, 2021.
Work search requirements had been temporarily relaxed because of the pandemic to include job-related education or skills development, and networking. Now people receiving unemployment will be required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified. A refusal to accept an offer of suitable work is grounds for disqualifying a person for benefits. More information on the requirement can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch/
In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can go back to work part-time and still retain the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) offered by Congress through September 4, 2021. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/
Whether or not currently unemployed, people looking for work should visit Maine JobLink, to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.
CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events as well as one-on-one meetings with a consultant, to develop employment or training plans. The CareerCenter can be reached by email at MaineDOL.CareerCenter@maine.gov, by phone at 207-623-7981, or by live-chat at MaineCareerCenter.gov.
Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined can report those refusals by using this online form. The Department will determine whether the individual is receiving unemployment benefits, and, if so, determine whether they should remain eligible.
Employers can also participate in the WorkShare program, which is designed to help employers avoid layoffs by allowing groups of workers to receive partial unemployment benefit payments while their employer reduces their hours. The employees are then subject to being called back when work expands.
Virtual Hiring Events
Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual and drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov
Upcoming virtual hiring event: On June 3, 2021 from 2-4 p.m., Maine CareerCenters are hosting a virtual job fair for Staffing Agencies (Non-Medical) and Financial Services Employment.
More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=4296174
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 22, the Department cancelled 118 initial 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/