July 8, 2021
Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending July 3
Weekly unemployment claims continue to decline.
AUGUSTA - For the week ending July 3, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,200 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 1,400 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.
Overall unemployment continued claims filed each week continue to steadily decline, down roughly 1,350 claims from the previous week. About 9,400 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 9,900 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 15,000 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.
For the same time period, roughly 3,100 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. In many cases, people receiving unemployment benefits can 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/
Between March 15, 2020 and July 3, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.3 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.7 billion of the $2.3 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.
The Department has handled approximately 267,300 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 113,100 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.2 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
Work Search Requirement: Individuals receiving unemployment are 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/
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 MaineJobLink.
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 https://www.MaineCareerCenter.gov .
Employers who have tried to recall employees or have made job offers that have been declined, or who have scheduled an interview and the potential employee did not attend, can report those situations 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.
Health Insurance information from DHHS:
MDOL is helping the Department of Health and Human Services spread the word about health insurance to unemployment claimants: Starting July 1, 2021, consumers who received or are approved to receive unemployment compensation for any week beginning in 2021 may be able to find even lower cost plans and save extra money on out-of-pocket expenses through https://www.healthcare.gov/ .
To take advantage of these additional savings, consumers who received or have been approved for unemployment compensation in 2021 need to visit https://www.HealthCare.gov before August 15th to submit a new application or update their existing application to maximize the savings they can get for the rest of 2021. An average of four out of five current HealthCare.gov consumers will be able to find a plan for $10 or less per month after advance payments of tax credits.
Whether you're uninsured, or have a Marketplace plan and want to save more money on premiums and out-of-pocket costs, make sure to apply or update your application with https://www.HealthCare.gov.
Employers can work with the Maine CareerCenters to hold independent virtual, in-person, or drive-through hiring events. Information on upcoming workshops and events: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov
Upcoming hiring event: On July 14, 2021 from 10 am-12 p.m., the Brunswick CareerCenter will host an outdoor in-person hiring event featuring local employers. More information: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5114400
The U.S. Department of Labor has a website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.
The 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 June 26, the Department cancelled 1,889 initial claims and five 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/ .
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.