Maine Department of Labor Advises Unemployment Claimants To Prepare for System Upgrade February 4 and 5
January 29, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 29, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009
Plan for system down time, have an active Maine Job Bank account and follow these updated tips before you file either online or by phone
AUGUSTA—People who are currently filing for unemployment benefits in Maine are being reminded to be prepared for the changes coming to the system during the first week in February. This upgrade has been delayed a week, and is now scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, February 4 and 5. Claimants who are prepared may be able to avoid potential delays in filing their benefits or waiting on the phone for customer assistance.
The Maine Department of Labor will deploy a major upgrade to the state’s unemployment system starting in the afternoon of February 4. The department has been preparing claimants for the changes to the system since December of last year.
“Claimants will need to familiarize themselves with the new Internet-based self-service features,” stated Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette. “We expect that there will be a learning curve as claimants get comfortable using the new features and services. Therefore, we ask that everyone take the time to make sure you have reviewed the information the department has sent to you and posted on our website. Most important, we ask your patience during the first couple of weeks.”
“In particular, once the system is live, and if you usually file benefits on Sunday or Monday—our two busiest filing days—please consider waiting to file later in the week. If you do have to call us, the wait time on the phone will be considerably less later in the week,” the Commissioner noted.
Unemployment System Unavailable
The unemployment system, both the telephone claims system and the website claims systems, will be unavailable during the system upgrade, from approximately 2 p.m. on Wednesday, February 4, through about 6 a.m., Thursday, February 5, 2015.
Accessing the New System
Once the new system goes live, claimants who usually file by interactive telephone can continue to do so, but their account will be checked for the same compliance information as those who file online.
The new system will require people who are accessing it for the first time to create a new login using their email address. The email address must be unique to that individual, so if two people in a household share the same email address and are both filing for unemployment using the online portal, one of the filers will need to use a new or different email address as his or her login.
Checking for a Valid Maine Job Bank Registration Before Being Able to File an Initial or Weekly Claim
Maine unemployment security law requires all individuals filing for unemployment insurance benefits to be registered with the Maine Job Bank. Both claimants who file via the telephone and those who file online will have their claim each week checked to ensure that they have a complete and active registration on the Maine Job Bank.
"If you file online and do not have an active or complete Job Bank account, you will receive a message on the screen that tells you to open or update your Job Bank account," said Commissioner Paquette. "If you file by phone and you do not have a complete or active Job Bank account, the system will tell you to call customer service. Before you call us, we recommend that you create or update the information in your Job Bank account using the tips below as a guide, and then try to file again, preferably online, or by phone. Doing this may avoid your having to call the department and should help your claim go through much faster."
Here are tips to make sure that your Job Bank account will be marked as “registered” by the new system:
- If you do not currently have a complete and active Maine Job Bank account, you will be required to create or complete one when you go to file your claim. This will take between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on the length and variety of your employment history.
- Job bank accounts are created online, so you will need to use a computer or mobile device with Internet access. If you do not have one, you can use a computer of a family member or friend or use one at a CareerCenter or public library.
- It will help you register on the Job Bank if you can look at your resume while you create or reactivate your account.
- You will need to provide an email address.
- Make sure that you have completed all three sections of the initial Job Bank registration.
- In particular, make sure that you have filled out the following fields (skipping fields may prevent your account from appearing as completed in the system):
- Job Category
- Employment Type
- Preferred Shift
- Commute Distance (from zip code)
- Education Level
- If you have more than one Job Bank account, make sure that the one that has your Social Security Number is fully completed (SSN) and you are using this account. The computer system matches the claimant’s SSN in the unemployment system to the SSN in the Maine Job Bank. If you have not used the Job Bank account with your SSN in a long time, it will not show as an active registration for your unemployment claim. (Note: The Maine Job Bank and Unemployment Systems operate under strict state and federal security protocols to protect personal information.)
- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Maine Job Bank registration requirement for unemployment claimants are available on the department’s website at http://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment/mjb.html and Frequently Asked Questions about the Maine Job Bank itself are available at http://www.mainecareercenter.com/faq/job-seeker/index.shtml .
- If you need assistance in creating an account on the Job Bank, check with family members or friends familiar with computer and Internet use or visit your local CareerCenter and our staff can help you be ready for this new process.
Work Search Waivers
Even if you currently have a work search waiver issued by the Maine Department of Labor, you are required to register with the Maine Job Bank. Registration is a federal and state requirement and is separate from the requirement to look for work.
Dislocated Worker Benefits
Claimants filing Dislocated Worker Benefits must be registered with the Job Bank but should file claims as they currently do.
You may need to change the day on which you usually file benefits, especially if you usually file on a Sunday, to get assistance with completing your Job Bank registration. CareerCenters are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can find the location of the closest CareerCenter at http://www.mainecareercenter.com .
CareerCenters, part of the Maine Department of Labor, offer a variety of services to help people find employment or upgrade skills. Each center provides several public-access computer workstations with Microsoft Office software, resume writing and cover letter software, Internet access and O’Net software for skills assessment. All CareerCenter services are provided at no charge. More information is available on the CareerCenter website, http://www.mainecareercenter.com .
After the system upgrade, Maine Job Bank staff will be available on Sunday, February 8, 2015, during the peak unemployment-filing period to answer phone calls from claimants. Claimants calling for assistance will need to be at a computer that has Internet access. More information about this assistance, including times and phone numbers, will be forthcoming.
In order to qualify to collect unemployment benefits, workers must have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, be actively seeking work and be able to accept new work. Workers who do not participate in a suitable, verifiable work search, who have not completed their Job Bank registration or who do not document their work search risk losing unemployment benefits and could be required to pay back benefits they have received.
Maine CareerCenters are an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.