AUGUSTA — For the week ending March 20, the Maine Department of Labor recorded about 1,400 initial claims filed for state unemployment insurance, and 300 initial claims filed for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
In total, approximately 2,500 people were filing an initial claim or reopening their unemployment claim.
About 14,650 weekly certifications, or continued claims, were filed last week for state unemployment, with another 13,100 weekly certifications filed under PUA.
In addition, about 19,100 weekly certifications were filed for the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Weekly certifications must be filed by claimants every week in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits.
Between March 15, 2020 and March 25, 2021, the Maine Department of Labor has paid out over $2 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.
The Department has handled approximately 245,300 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 110,000 initial claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Note: Claims do not equal the number of unique unemployment claimants. There have been over 3.6 million weekly certifications filed.
The U.S. Department of Labor launched a new website for people to understand unemployment insurance identity theft, and how and where to report stolen benefits if they are victims.
The new website provides key steps to help victims address issues that might arise because of previous identity theft and outlines steps to report the theft of unemployment benefits. To assist victims, the department worked closely with other federal agencies and state workforce agencies to consolidate necessary steps and resources.
The Maine Department of Labor continues its careful review of all claims, and to evolve its fraud prevention techniques.
During the week ending March 20, the Department cancelled 920 initial claims and six weekly claims suspected to be fraudulent.