Labor officials provide Oct. 8 update on unemployment benefits, benefits fraud

Thu, 10/08/2020 - 9:15am

    AUGUSTA — For the week ending October 3, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,700 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 670 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

    During the week ending Oct. 3 there were about 2,150 individuals filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.

    About 22,300 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 15,900 weekly certifications filed under PUA. In addition, about 13,000 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program and 950 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 3, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $1.59 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

    The Department has handled approximately 190,500 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 93,500 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been over 2.5 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 3, the Department canceled 217 initial claims and four 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, according to a news release. 

    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: