AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Labor reports there were about 2,000 initial claims for unemployment and 300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for the week ending November 14.
This is a decrease of 267 applicants from the previous week.
When you add people reopening their unemployment claims the number rises to approximately 2,550 claimants.
About 12,550 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week, with another 14,200 weekly certifications filed under PUA.
In addition, about 13,900 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 2,200 weekly certifications were filed for the state Extended Benefits program.
Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.
NOTE: Extended Benefit Program Ended November 14. The state Extended Benefit (EB) program provided up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to those who exhausted both their state unemployment insurance and then federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
Those who were receiving EB may be eligible for PUA benefits. PUA is available for people affected by COVID-19 and who aren’t eligible for or who have exhausted the other available programs.
Claims data can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/ui.html
The MDOL continues its battle against fraud. During the week ending November 14, the Department canceled 1,900 initial claims and 25 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.
That is 2,790 claims fewer than the previous week that were canceled.
The Department warns they would never send a password reset email that wasn't requested by the individual. If someone did not request a reset and receives one of these emails, they should immediately delete the email and not respond. If they receive an email requesting they look at the recent activity in their account, they should not click on any links in the email, and instead, go straight to their account.
The MDOL suggests claimants follow these guidelines to protect themselves:
- Before filing their next weekly certification, they should go to Benefits Maintenance > Payment Options to verify their current payment information and update as needed.
- Click on the link in Benefits Maintenance to verify their email address. This will generate an email with instructions on how to complete the process.
- After verifying their email, the Department recommends changing their password to one that is not being used in any other online system. They will need to verify their email account before creating a new password by hitting forgot password on the log-in page. This will also generate an email within which they will need to click on a link. Passwords should not be shared with anyone.
- Unsolicited emails about resetting passwords should be immediately deleted.
- If unemployment benefit payments for prior weeks filed appear to have been redirected to a bank account that is not theirs, they should contact the Department.
The week ending April 4, 2020, had the highest numbers with 30,889 Mainers filing for unemployment.
Between March 15 and November 14, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.66 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.