Beginning May 23, 2021, traditional work search requirements are being reinstated.

Beginning May 23, 2021, traditional work search requirements are being reinstated. Work search requirements had been temporarily relaxed because of the pandemic to include job-related education or skills development, and networking. People receiving unemployment will be required to actively look for work and to accept positions for which they are reasonably qualified.

Some Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Claimants will Need to Provide Proof of ID and All Will Need to Provide Proof of Employment

The federal Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 requires that the Maine Department of Labor verify the identity of all new PUA applicants before the claim is processed. It is also a federal requirement that PUA recipients provide proof of employment.

For more information, please visit the PUA ID and Employment Verification web page.

New Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Program (MEUC)

The Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program was enacted by the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 and provides a $100 supplemental benefit to certain individuals who had both employment and self-employment prior to becoming unemployed during the pandemic. The program is payable for weeks ending January 2, 2021, through September 4, 2021.

MEUC web page:

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: .

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

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.

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.