August 26, 2021
For Immediate Release: August 26, 2021
Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending August 21
AUGUSTA - For the week ending August 21, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 750 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 960 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.
Overall, weekly unemployment claims continue to decrease, with about 200 fewer claims filed last week than the week before that. About 7,500 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 7,880 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,300 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 3,200 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/
Reminder: Federal unemployment benefits end on September 4, 2021. The Department recommends that claimants take advantage of CareerCenter services. CareerCenters host a variety of hiring events - https://www.mainecareercenter.com/employment/hiringevents/ 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 .
Between March 15, 2020 and August 21, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.4 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.8 billion of the $2.4 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.
The Department has handled approximately 273,750 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 113,950 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.45 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 - https://joblink.maine.gov/ , to find thousands of jobs posted, including remote work. Employers can post their jobs by registering with the Maine JobLink.
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 at this online form - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/ . 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 - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/workshare/ , 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.
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 virtual hiring event: On September 2, 2021 from 2 -4 p.m., the Maine CareerCenters will host a statewide virtual hiring event, featuring a variety of employers and industries. More information, and registration, can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5328886
Reminder: those who receive a denial letter for not providing required documents have 15 days to appeal the decision.
As previously announced - https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=5304036 , claimants who do not provide required documentation by their individual deadline are sent a decision denying their eligibility for the PUA program and warning of a possible requirement to repay benefits received. Detailed information and next steps were sent in the mail and in their ReEmployME online account correspondence.
Those who receive a denial decision and believe that they were eligible for the benefits they received can appeal - https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/appeals/ the decision and upload the requested documents within 15 days of the decision. To upload, they can log in to their ReEmployME account and click on 'Correspondences.' They can then select the correspondence titled "PUAP21" or PUAP90 and follow the instructions on how to upload documents for review. Uploading documents does not guarantee the denial decision will be re-determined, and an appeal must still be filed.
A denial decision and overpayment determination would require a claimant to repay any PUA benefits they received since the week ending January 2, 2021. They would also need to repay any Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (additional weekly $300) benefits that were paid for those weeks.
If someone did not collect PUA benefits in 2020 but filed for PUA after 01/31/2021 (including if they are filing a claim for the first time now) they will get a similar notice that requires them to provide the documentation within 21 days of the notice mailing date - claimants should regularly check the correspondence tab in their ReEmployME account and look closely at what their deadline date is if they receive a letter.
More information on how to upload documents, including a walk-through video, can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/puaemployment/ .
The U.S. Department of Labor has a website - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/UIIDtheft for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, 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 August 21, the Department cancelled 86 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/
The Center for Workforce Research and Information has launched a new website: Maine Employers and Employment by Size and Industry https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/qcew4.html
Explore this dataset of private employers who are classified in the data by total number of jobs (size class). These data can be used to better understand how employers of different sizes comprise Maine's labor market, by industry and by region. The interactive data visualization contains three ways to view the data. On the first tab, data users can view the total number of employer establishments by size and industry. On the second tab, data users can see how many employer establishments there are of various sizes in each county throughout the state. The third tab displays data on employment by size class, which can be used to better understand how jobs are distributed across employer establishments of different sizes.
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.