Department of Labor Advises Unemployment Claimants of Upcoming Events Affecting Claims Bookmark and Share

May 27, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 27, 2016 Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 621-5009

Changes taking effect will improve system performance and modernize the Maine Job Bank.

AUGUSTA--The Department of Labor urges unemployment claimants and users of the Maine Job Bank to note dates for upcoming events that will impact the unemployment claims process.

Effective June 1, 2016, the Weekly Benefit Amount and Maximum Benefit Amount for unemployment claims will increase and may impact Weekly Benefit Amounts for some claimants. Initial claims – the first claim for unemployment a person files when laid off -- filed on or after June 1, 2016, may be eligible for a higher weekly benefit amount. Claimants who open a claim with a new benefit year may receive a higher benefit amount if the initial claim is filed on or after June 1, 2016. If the same claimant files before June 1, 2016, they will be locked into the lower benefit amount.

Beginning in June, the Maine Job Bank and Unemployment Claims Web Portal will be down at various times for needed maintenance. Federal law requires all individuals collecting unemployment benefits to be registered with the employment service of their home state. For Maine residents, that service is the Maine Job Bank, part of the department’s Bureau of Employment Services and the CareerCenter network. These scheduled outages will impact when unemployment claims can be filed for their respective weeks.

"Unemployment claimants should anticipate the outage dates and plan their filing accordingly, to avoid added delays in their benefit payment," said Commissioner Jeanne Paquette. "These changes taking effect will improve system performance and provide a modernized, mobile-friendly labor exchange system to better connect job seekers and employment opportunities."

Scheduled Maintenance Dates (subject to change)

  • June 5, 2016
  • June 12, 2016
  • June 19, 2016
  • July 10, 2016
  • July 17, 2016
  • Aug 8, 2016

Unemployment benefit weeks run Sunday through Saturday. Claimants are encouraged to file anytime during the week following the outage. For example, after the June 5 outage claimants should file between June 6 and June 11 for that benefit week. The Department of Labor reminds unemployment claimants that the easiest way to file is through the online Unemployment Web Portal at . Claimants who file by phone after an outage should anticipate longer wait periods.

Information about each scheduled maintenance including timeframes and systems that will be affected will be posted on the Department’s website in advance. When the maintenance has been completed, the messages will be updated.

In addition, a major upgrade to the Maine Job Bank, the state's federally-required labor exchange system, is tentatively scheduled for late June 2016. During that period, the Job Bank, which is used by the unemployment system to ensure that a claimant is registered with the state’s employment service, will be unavailable, however, individuals filing unemployment claims will still be able to do so during this upgrade.

More information and guidance about the upgrade to the Maine Job Bank system will be provided to job seekers, claimants and employers beginning in June.

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.

For more information about unemployment benefits, please visit . Information and support for job seekers or those interested in changing careers, including the link to the Maine Job Bank, are available at .

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