Labor officials provide Oct. 15 update on unemployment benefits, benefits fraud

Thu, 10/15/2020 - 9:30am

    AUGUSTA — For the week ending October 10, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,500 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 914 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

    . During the week ending Oct. 10 there were almost 2,000 individuals filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

    About 19,100 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 16,050 weekly certifications filed under PUA.

    In addition, about 14,200 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 820 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 October 10, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.6 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

    The Department has handled approximately 192,000 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 94,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.58 million weekly certifications filed.

    Fraud Update

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

    During the week ending October 10, the Department canceled 249 initial claims and nine weekly certifications 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.

    The U.S. Department of Justice has put out an Unemployment Insurance Consumer Fraud Protection Guide with information on unemployment fraud and what to do if you believe your information has been used to file a fraudulent claim.

    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: