September 23, 2021
For Immediate Release: September 23, 2021
Claims for Unemployment Compensation, Week Ending September 18
AUGUSTA - During the week ending September 18, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 600 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 100 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The PUA initial claims were those that were originally filed under the regular state program in a prior week, subsequently found ineligible for state unemployment, and then moved to the PUA program. These PUA claims have an effective date prior to the close of the program. The initial claims numbers represent claim applications; claims are then reviewed for eligibility and legitimacy. In total, approximately 700 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.
About 8,100 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 400 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 600 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly claims are filed after the end of the actual week. Therefore, the claims filed this week for the federal PUA and PEUC programs were for weeks ending September 4 or earlier. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.
For the same time period, roughly 1,200 unemployment claimants reported having partial earnings for the week. More information, including a walk-through video and "partial benefit calculator," can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pub/
Federal unemployment benefits ended on September 4, 2021. This covers the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits. Claims for weeks that end on or before September 4, 2021 will still be paid after that date, assuming all eligibility criteria are met.
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 September 18, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2.49 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. Approximately $1.88 billion of the $2.49 billion was paid through federal unemployment programs.
The Department has handled approximately 276,300 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 114,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 4.5 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 by using 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 hiring event: On September 30, 2021 from 10 a.m. - noon, the Southern Midcoast CareerCenter in Brunswick will host an outdoor hiring event, featuring a variety of local employers and industries. More information and a list of participating employers can be found here: https://www.mainecareercenter.com/locations/jobfair.shtml?id=5332486
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 September 18, the Department cancelled 52 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/
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.