Labor officials provide unemployment benefits, fraud updates

Thu, 08/20/2020 - 8:45am

    AUGUSTA — For the week ending August 15, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,300 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 1,200 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

    These claims represent about 1,500 individuals filing an initial claim.

    About 45,500 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment. In addition, about 25,200 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 15, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out about $1.38 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

    The Department has handled approximately 181,000 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 84,400 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. There have been about 2.1 million weekly certifications filed.

    Claims data is preliminary and subject to revision. Claims data can be found here:

    Tomorrow morning, August 21, the Department of Labor will release monthly workforce data on the employment situation in July. That data on the change in payroll jobs and the unemployment rate provides the best indication of workforce conditions.


    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 15, the Department cancelled about 575 initial claims and 60 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: