MAINE, USA — You've been calling the Maine Department of Labor for days and still haven't been able to get through to anyone.
You're not alone.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment claims in Maine have reached historic levels. Initial claims for unemployment compensation were approximately 23,800 in the week ending March 28, the highest weekly total on record.
The department was never built to be equipped for such an influx of calls and claims.
Now, the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) has announced they are implementing a new alphabetical-by-last-name call-in schedule for Maine people filing for unemployment benefits.
The new schedule will help reduce phone line congestion as the Department ramps up its capacity to receive and process claims.
Starting Monday, April 6, Maine people seeking to file for unemployment by calling the 800 number with last names beginning with A-H should call on Monday; I-Q on Tuesday; R-Z on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will be left unassigned for those who miss their alphabetical day or need to call at that time.
While the MDOL has set up this schedule, the department reiterates that the best way to file your claim as quickly as possible is to do so online as the website is available 24/7 and you don't have to wait.
Maine Department of Labor:
At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.newscentermaine.com/coronavirus.