Unemployment $10,200 Tax Exemption

Unemployment $10,200 Tax Exemption: If you have an annual income of less than $150,000, regardless of filing status, recently enacted legislation exempts up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits from both federal and state income tax for tax year 2020.

If you received unemployment benefits in 2020, Maine Revenue Services has put out information and instructions on how you may be eligible to claim this exemption from both Maine and federal income tax: https://www.maine.gov/revenue/tax .

If you are using a smartphone to view the website, you may need to zoom out to see the complete set of instructions.

New Security Questions 4.7.21

When you next sign-in to your ReEmployME account to file your weekly claim, you will be asked to choose and answer a few security questions. Your account's security is our priority, and this is part of our ongoing fraud prevention measures.

New Confirmation Email 4.7.21

As part of MDOL's ongoing user experience improvement initiative, going forward, when you update your account details, such as your password, payment information and contact details, you will receive a confirmation email like the one below. This is to alert you of changes made to your account and confirm that you changed the information. You do not need to contact our office, unless you did not make these changes.

ID.me Video

If you have received a notice regarding ID.me identity verification, this video provides instructions on what you will need to do: https://youtu.be/UE8XX6SLymo

Unemployment Scam Alert

It has been reported that some people are receiving texts such as the one below. The Maine Department of Labor does NOT conduct business via text, please do not respond or click the link if you ever receive a message that looks like the graphic linked below!

View the Text Scam Graphic

The Maine Department of Labor is warning the public of scammer's attempts to phish individuals personal information via social media platforms. Scammers are creating social media pages to mimic the Maine Department of Labors and are asking people to direct message them via these fake pages for unemployment help.

The Department is working with social media platforms to remove the fake pages.

For Facebook users, look for the Departments "verified" blue checkmark. The Maine Department of Labor will never ask for sensitive information via social media or direct messenger.

The Department is asking the public stay vigilant, never share personal information through social media, and to report fake pages immediately.

The U.S. Justice Department also has a warning about fake Unemployment Benefit websites.

If You Filed Your Claim a Year Ago - New Benefit Year

COVID-19 has created the need for extended unemployment, and there are now a number of people who are coming to the end of their benefit year.

If you filed your unemployment claim a year ago, your benefit year may be expiring soon. A benefit year is the 52-week period following the date you filed your initial claim. For example, if you filed your claim in March 2020, your benefit year would end in March 2021 and a new one would need to be established if you are still eligible to collect benefits. The Department will need to review your claim to determine whether you qualify for regular unemployment benefits on this new benefit year, especially if you are currently collecting on one of the federal programs.

What do you need to know?

Federal and state law requires the Department to determine whether you are eligible for regular state unemployment benefits on a new benefit year. For some, a new benefit year will be automatically established. Others will receive a system prompt to file a new benefit if the prior one has expired. If you are receiving benefits through PUA or PEUC, the system will in most cases complete the eligibility review automatically. If you do not qualify for state unemployment, you will receive a denial letter for state unemployment benefits on the new benefit year and continue to receive benefits through the federal program until you have exhausted them or the program ends.

If you worked since you filed your claim last year, have out of state wages, Federal Civilian wages, Military wages, or have been on Workshare within the past year, your claim may require additional review to determine eligibility.

What are the next steps?

If the system prompts you to file a new benefit year, from your account, please navigate to "Unemployment Claim" and File Unemployment Claim to complete this process. We recommend you do so as soon as you receive the notification to avoid missing out on eligible claim weeks.

Make sure you continue to file your weekly claims for benefits, even if an eligibility review is pending. If otherwise eligible we will process all eligible pending weeks for payment once the review is completed.

Update on Federal Unemployment Extensions

Federal Unemployment Programs Extended by American Rescue Plan

AUGUSTA - On Thursday, March 11, 2021 the American Rescue Plan was signed into law by President Biden. This law includes several provisions that extend federal unemployment programs.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) extended:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants were previously eligible for up to 50 weeks of benefits. Now, they will be eligible for up to 79 weeks of benefits. The additional weeks will be added to PUA claims automatically; claimants should just continue to file their weekly claims.
  • NOTE: If a claimant previously exhausted their 50 weeks of PUA, they will be able to begin certifying again beginning Sunday, March 21, 2021. Week-ending March 20, 2021 is the first week the PUA continuation takes effect. Based on the federal law, there are no back weeks available for those who previously exhausted PUA. If someone exhausted their previous PUA benefits and has not filed a weekly claim within the last two weeks, they will need to go online to reopen their claim.
  • PUA as a whole will be extended through September 4, 2021, but claimants may exhaust their individual 79 weeks before that date.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extended:

  • The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program previously provided up to 24 weeks of additional benefits to claimants who exhausted their regular state Unemployment Insurance benefits. Now, it will provide up to 53 weeks through September 4, 2021.
  • If a claimant is already collecting PEUC, no additional action is needed.
  • Those who had already exhausted their previous PEUC benefits should follow the same process outlined above for those who exhausted their PUA benefits.

$300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) extended:

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides an additional $300 per week on top of a claimant's weekly benefit amount, has been extended through September 4, 2021.
  • Claimants will continue to receive FPUC automatically as long as they continue to file weekly claims.

Tax Relief for Unemployment Claimants:

  • The Maine Legislature has approved an income tax exemption of up to $10,200 per recipient of unemployment compensation benefits received during 2020 from Maine individual income tax for taxpayers with a federal adjusted gross income of less than $150,000.

  • This does not affect unemployment claims or accounts. Claimants should check with the IRS and MRS for further details and guidance on tax relief.

  • More information will be posted to www.maine.gov/revenue when it is available.

IRS Statement - American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

The IRS is reviewing implementation plans for the newly enacted American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Additional information about a new round of Economic Impact Payments, the expanded Child Tax Credit, including advance payments of the Child Tax Credit, and other tax provisions will be made available as soon as possible on IRS.gov. The IRS strongly urges taxpayers to not file amended returns related to the new legislative provisions or take other unnecessary steps at this time.

The IRS will provide taxpayers with additional guidance on those provisions that could affect their 2020 tax return, including the retroactive provision that makes the first $10,200 of 2020 unemployment benefits nontaxable. For those who haven't filed yet, the IRS will provide a worksheet for paper filers and work with software industry to update current tax software so that taxpayers can determine how to report their unemployment income on their 2020 tax return. For those who received unemployment benefits last year and have already filed their 2020 tax return, the IRS emphasizes they should not file an amended return at this time, until the IRS issues additional guidance.

Assistance for Employers and the State Unemployment Trust Fund:

  • Governmental entities and nonprofit organizations are relieved of 75% of the benefit costs for COVID-related unemployment claims, an increase from the 50% previously funded, through September 4, 2021.
  • Full federal funding of the first week of benefits is restored, after dropping from 100% to 50% with the previous extension, through September 4, 2021.
  • Full federal funding of benefits paid through the Workshare program, through September 4, 2021.

Additional Information: - Any updates or additional information will be posted at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment . - For any issues regarding an individual claim, call 1-800-593-7660.

Claimant Instruction Guide to completing an online interview questionnaire.

You may recently be seeing "online interview" in your unemployment account. This online questionnaire shows in your account if you stated in your weekly claim that you did not complete a work search related activity.

While the questionnaire is optional, completing it will speed up the fact-finding process, and allow you to answer the questions at a time that works for you. If you choose not to fill out the questionnaire, a phone interview will be scheduled.

A guide to the questionnaire and FAQS can be found here: Claimant Instruction Guide.

Unemployment Insurance

The Bureau of Unemployment Compensation contributes to economic stability by providing temporary employer-funded benefits to eligible individuals while they seek re-employment. We operate an accessible, integrity-driven program in a timely and accurate manner.