AUGUSTA — For the week ending October 24, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,500 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 700 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
This represents about 1,800 individuals filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.
About 14,700 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 16,600 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 14,400 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 700 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 likely to end mid-November.
The state Extended Benefit (EB) program is the program that provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to those who have exhausted both their state unemployment insurance and then federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
The EB program is only in effect during times of high unemployment. EB begins when the 13-Week Average Insured Unemployment Rate is 5.00% or higher and the 13-Week Average Insured Unemployment Rate is 120% more than the average for the last 2 years for the same time period. EB began in May 2020 and is likely to end mid-November.
When EB ends, those receiving EB who are still eligible will be moved to PUA for the remainder of their eligibility.
The 39 weeks of PUA are reduced by the number of weeks already paid under state unemployment and EB.
Between March 15 and October 24, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.6 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.
The Department has handled approximately 194,800 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 95,700 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.67 million weekly certifications filed.
The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.
During the week ending October 24, the Department canceled 588 initial claims and 18 weekly certifications that were determined to be fraudulent.
Unemployment imposter fraud is when a person's Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is stolen and used illegally to apply for unemployment benefits. Maine is one of many U.S. states working in close collaboration with state and federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to investigate and prevent it.