Like many states, Maine’s unemployment level has hit historic levels during the coronavirus pandemic. And millions of people are seeking government help, many for the first time. Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) wrote a guide to answer frequently asked questions Mainers have about the unemployment process.
“My staff and I have assembled this guide to help the thousands of Mainers who have lost their jobs or can’t find work due to the coronavirus,” said Rep. Golden in a statement. “Our goal is to help you understand the options available to you and decide on a course of action. We know this will be a difficult and frustrating process for many workers and we want to be a resource.”
The unemployment rate in Maine surpassed the high set during the last recession in 2009, according to the Maine Department of Labor. According to reports from the Bangor Daily News, the department said they had 4,900 claims were filed, an 800% from the same week in 2019.
The booklet covers several questions that residents may have, including:
-What people can qualify for
-What to do after applying
-The best way to fill out an unemployment claim
The guide explains that the unemployment application process can be completed online or over the phone, and flags common mistakes made on the forms:
-If you’re unable to work as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, do not enter your reason as “suspension,” even if your job has temporarily suspended you. If your employer closed or reduced your hours, select “lack of work or laid off”.
-If you’re unable to work due to the closures caused by coronavirus, do not answer “Are you available to work?” with “No” unless you are actually ill. You are required to report your illness and indicate the number of days you’re available to work.
Golden warns that these making mistakes on the form can result in unemployment benefits being delayed. The congressman said he has prepared his staff to help with any problems, questions or concerns that may arise during the unemployment process. Their office locations and numbers are listed below.
6 State Street
Bangor, ME 04401
7 Hatch Drive
Caribou, ME 04736
179 Lisbon Street
Lewiston, ME 04240
Fax: (207) 241-6770