Unemployment Information Related to COVID-19
- Extended unemployment benefits rolling out: Those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits are having their claim rolled into the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program starting today. Each individual will receive an email as confirmation when their claim has been set up under PUA. The email will also contain additional information about this process. After receiving this confirmation, any weekly certifications an individual has filed for past weeks will be processed the same night as long as there are no other potential eligibility issues that would have to resolved through fact-finding. It may take 24 to 72 hours for payments to appear in their accounts after the claims are processed.
If someone who has exhausted their benefits has not been filing weekly certifications, after they get their email confirming their claim has rolled over into the new program, they can go into their unemployment account and file their weekly certifications. Payable claims will be retroactive to when employment was lost due to COVID-19, as far back as March 15. To backdate earlier than this will require the claimant to provide evidence that they lost work earlier than March 15 due to COVID-19.
- Important notice for employers about refusals to return to work by employee(s): If you are an employer and need to report a refusal to come back to work by one of your employee(s), please complete our new electronic form which may be found at: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ucbr/. Please complete the form and provide as much information as you can so we can follow up as needed. MDOL will analyze the circumstances on a case-by-case basis to see if there is good cause for refusing the work or not.
- Employer experience rating not charged for COVID-19 unemployment benefits paid: Under legislation enacted in response to the civil emergency declaration by Governor Mills on March 15, 2020, temporary modifications of unemployment insurance provisions were put in place that included the noncharging of individual employer experience rates for COVID-related benefit charges between March 15, 2020 through 30 days beyond the end of the civil emergency declaration. This is currently in place through July 11, 2020 as the civil emergency declaration in Maine is extended. In our efforts to quickly implement the new, federal unemployment benefit programs, not all agency forms including references to potential charge information have been updated yet to reflect the emergency non-charging of experience rating provision but employers’ individual experience ratings will not be affected by benefit charges during this period.
- If you have already enrolled in the current unemployment program, you MUST continue filing your weekly certifications. If possible please avoid filing weekly claims on Sunday or Monday. Please pick Tuesday or later in the week when there is less online traffic.
- If you need to call the unemployment phone lines, please use the alphabetical call in schedule to help reduce phone line congestion: Last names beginning with A-H should call on Monday, I-Q on Tuesday; and R-Z on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are left unassigned for those who miss their alphabetical day or need to call at that time.
- To set up and use a ReEmployME account, please view the following videos:
- Important Initial Claim Filing Information: If you are unable to work as a result of the Corona Virus Disease 19 (COVID-19) outbreak, do not enter your reason for separation as a suspension, even if your job has been temporarily suspended due to the virus. This will delay your claim for benefits. If your employer closed or reduced your hours, select "Lack of Work/Laid Off".
- Important Weekly Claim Filing Information: On your weekly certification for benefits, if you are unable to work as a result of the Corona Virus Disease 19 (COVID-19), please do not answer the question with No, unless you, yourself, were actually ill during the week (either as a result of the virus, or some other illness). You would need to report your illness, and indicate the number of days of the week you were unable to work.
- Contact Details Screen: We are aware of a system issue on the "contact details" screen with the gender field. It is not necessary to update this before filing your unemployment claim. This information can be updated as you file your claim, and that is the easiest way to do so.
- Locked Out: One of the most common issues reported is being locked out of a benefit account due to failed password attempts. Please click on the document below to download instructions. http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/attach.php?id=2247345&an=1
The fastest method to receive benefits if otherwise eligible is through Direct Deposit
- We recommend all claimants opt for this payment method. After creating your account and filing your initial claim for benefits, while logged in to your ReEmployME account: From the home screen navigate to "Benefit Maintenance". Click Update Claimant Profile and Payment Options. Follow the screen prompts to set up Direct Deposit. For a step-by-step walk through of the process, please go to: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/reemploymeguide/ . You will find the instructions starting on page 27 of the guide.