Labor officials provide unemployment, benefit fraud updates

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 9:15am

    AUGUSTA —For the week ending August 8, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,500 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 280 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

    These claims represent about 1,500 individuals filing an initial claim, per a news release. 

    About 50,200 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment. In addition, about 26,800 weekly certifications were filed under PUA. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.

    Between March 15 and August 8, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out about $1.35 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits. By comparison, the Department paid out less than $74 million in unemployment benefits in all of 2019.

    The Department has handled approximately 179,700 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 83,200 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been about 2.03 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 August 8, the Department cancelled about 4,000 initial claims and 650 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.

    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: