Services Available for Unemployment Claimants Via Internet and Telephone Bookmark and Share

January 9, 2014

For Immediate Release: January 9, 2013
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Department of Labor, 621-5009

Avoid long wait times by using the self-service features

AUGUSTA—The Department of Labor has issued a reminder that the number of people filing for unemployment peaks in Maine during the month of January. People filing unemployment insurance claims who want to speak with a customer service representative will encounter a long wait time over the next few weeks.

“We understand being out of work is stressful,” said Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette. “We want to help people avoid mistakes which could delay unemployment benefits. Unemployment is a complex process with several steps and different areas of the department handle different steps of the claims process.”

“We encourage people to use the Internet or our automated phone system to file claims. It may be best to use the automated phone system before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m.,” she added. “Many services can be accessed through the web and by other phone numbers, so we are providing this list of tips to help people get their questions answered more quickly.”

Unemployment benefits services available on the web at include:

  • File an initial claim or add/reopen claims: You will need to reopen your claim if you have not filed for two weeks or longer.
  • File weekly claims: Once you establish a benefit year, you need to file a claim for each week. Do not wait for the department to contact you before you start filing weekly claims.
  • View recently filed claims activity such as the date of filing or the benefits payment date.
  • Change your address.
  • Change your Personal Identification Number (PIN).
  • Appeal a decision. You may also appeal a decision by calling 207-621-5001. You MUST have the decision number with you when filing an appeal. That number will have been mailed to you with the decision.
  • Download and print forms.
  • Obtain general information about unemployment.

Unemployment benefit services available by calling 1-800-593-7660 and using the interactive phone system include:

  • File weekly claims.
  • Check the status of your claims from the last four weeks.
  • Change your address.
  • Change your Personal Identification Number (PIN).

If you are calling to use the interactive phone system, calling before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m. on weekdays will ensure faster access to the system.

Other tips:

The potential three-month extension of EUC benefits is still being debated in Congress. There is no harm in people who, until recently, were filing for EUC benefits to file a claim; however, there is no guarantee at this time as to whether that claim will be paid. EUC claim payments depend on both a bill being passed and the final language of the bill. Because nothing has passed to date, there is no need for former EUC claimants to call and check the status of their claims at this time.

Remember to continue to search for work and keep track of your search using the Work Search Log. While filing unemployment claims, you are required to look for work each and every week.

If you are having problems related to your debit card, the J.P. Morgan Chase Bank MAP card, contact Chase customer service at 1-866-315-1011. Call them to activate a card, report a card lost or stolen, or to request a replacement card.

If you need to verify wages to receive benefits for a pending claim, fax the information to 207-764-2142. Faxing to any other numbers could delay the processing of the claim. Remember that you must send information specifically for the payroll period being covered and your full Social Security Number in order for staff to process your claim. Incomplete information delay the processing of your claim.

Those individuals who are unable either to complete an application for unemployment benefits, to reopen their claim, or to file a weekly claim using the Internet or telephone self-service features should dial 1-800-593-7660 and wait to speak to a customer service representative. Because of the unusually high call volumes at this time of year, wait times may be over an hour. Wait times are higher on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The Maine Department of Labor is an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.