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Maine sees about 1,500 initial unemployment claims; cancels over 500 due to fraud

Work search requirements for unemployment claims are reinstated. The Maine Department of Labor issue letters to some reminding them to start searching.
Credit: Getty Images

AUGUSTA, Maine — For the week of August 9 - 15, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,300 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 1,200 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

These claims represent about 1,500 individuals filing an initial claim.

About 45,500 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed that week for state unemployment. 

In addition, about 25,200 weekly certifications were filed under PUA. 

Claimants have to file weekly certifications in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

Between March 15 and August 15, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out about $1.38 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The department says they have handled approximately 181,000 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 84,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. 

All in all, there have been about 2.1 million weekly certifications filed.

For a deeper look into Maine's claim data visit www.maine.gov/labor

On the morning of Friday, August 21, the Department of Labor is expected to release monthly workforce data on the employment situation in July. That data on the change in payroll jobs and the unemployment rate provides the best indication of workforce conditions.

Fraud Update

The Maine Department of Labor says they are continuing their review of claims as they investigate unemployment imposter fraud. 

During the week of August 9-15, the department says they canceled about 575 initial claims and 60 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.

The department encourages anyone who believes that someone else has used their or their employees' personal information to file a fraudulent unemployment application to notify the department immediately using this form: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/idtheft/.

Work Search Requirements Reinstated August 9 

As of August 9, work search activities are required for anyone who is filing for unemployment benefits and who is not expecting to go back to their previous employer. Those that are self-employed are expected to start their work back up.

The department says those who are permanently separated from their employer and did not participate in any work search activities for the week of August 9 will receive a letter reminding them of the work search requirement. 

If, after the reminder letter, the claimant does not participate in a work search activity in a week for which they filed for benefits, they will be scheduled for a fact-finding interview. 

Based on the information provided during the interview, the department will determine whether benefits for that week should be allowed. It is possible that the benefits for that week could be denied.

There are no blanket exemptions of the work search requirements for people who are permanently separated from their employer. 

For more information on searching for work, visit: www.maine.gov/unemployment/faq/worksearch.