Labor officials provide Dec. 3 update on unemployment benefits, benefits fraud

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 7:15pm

    AUGUSTA — For the week ending November 28, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,900 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 700 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

    In total, approximately 2,300 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

    About 11,600 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 15,400 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 12,700 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 100 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.

    Between March 15 and November 28, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.68 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

    The Department has handled approximately 204,900 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 99,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.9 million weekly certifications filed.

    Reminder that the federal CARES Act unemployment programs (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation) are scheduled to expire on December 26, unless Congress takes action.

    Fraud Update

    The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims as it investigates unemployment imposter fraud.

    During the week ending November 28, the Department cancelled 313 initial claims and seven 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.