Maine Unemployment Insurance Update

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Good afternoon,

You are receiving this message because you have an active unemployment insurance claim. The Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) would like you to be aware of the following information:

  • Work search requirements are now reinstated for all unemployment claimants

Beginning on Sunday, October 4, 2020 all claimants must participate in work search related activities. The only exception is for individuals in medical quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

This requirement now applies to those who are self-employed and workers planning on returning to their employer. Work search related activity requirements for those who were permanently separated from their employer were previously reinstated on August 9.

Beginning with the weekly certification covering the week of October 4-10, which can be filed starting on October 11, all unemployment claimants will be required to answer questions about their work search related activities.

It is important to note that options that satisfy this requirement include more than just applying for jobs. In response to the circumstances created by the pandemic, MDOL expanded its definition of "work search" to include work-related activities such as attending skill development seminars or job networking events.

Self-employed individuals will need to attest to engaging in activities designed to fully reopen their business. Examples of this could include: marketing your business, attending networking events, participating in relevant workshops such as this one from CEI, meeting with the Office of Business Development to understand the resources available to small businesses.

Other work search activities include:

  • Attending a job fair/virtual job fair hosted by a CareerCenter
  • Participating in CareerCenter virtual reemployment services
  • Participating in a CareerCenter virtual workshop
  • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified
  • Contacting an employer to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring
  • Participating in professional job-related education or skills development
  • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified

For example, taking a class with Coursera, a leading online learning platform, counts as a work search activity. MDOL announced in August that Maine has partnered with Coursera in its Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative.

This initiative provides unemployed workers with free access to 3,800 online courses. Up to 5,000 unemployed Mainers can sign up to take classes through the Coursera platform.

The registration period for Coursera has been extended through October 31, 2020. Learners enrolled will have until the end of the year to complete the courses. For more information on how to sign up, please contact a CareerCenter:

As part of the work search requirement, you must be registered on the Maine JobLink, a free job search tool, where you can upload your resume and employers can post their job openings:

The CareerCenters hold frequent virtual workshops on how to use the Maine JobLink. To register for any of the CareerCenter workshops, please visit:

You can also call your local CareerCenter to schedule a 1:1 appointment with a CareerCenter Consultant to explore work search activity options specific to your individual situation.

More information and answers to frequently asked questions on the work search requirement can be found at:

  • Quarterly unemployment eligibility assessment is currently taking place:

Every calendar quarter, MDOL is required to check whether individuals currently receiving benefits under PUA, PEUC or EB might now qualify for regular state unemployment insurance as a result of additional wages earned during the quarter. 

September marked the end of a quarter, so you may receive a new eligibility determination through your unemployment account and by mail. This is a normal part of the recheck process and you may initially see $0 in your unemployment account balance. This is temporary if the initial check for quarterly wages did not initially find you eligible for the regular state unemployment program. 

Once the recheck process is completed, if you are not eligible to switch to state unemployment, your account and claim will again show you receiving benefits under your prior payable program (PUA, PEUC or EB), if otherwise eligible.

  • Lastly, a reminder that Monday, October 12, 2020 is a federal holiday.

Due to the upcoming holiday, financial institutions are closed on Monday, October 12.  Therefore, weekly certifications filed Friday, October 9 through Monday, October 12 will be delayed one business day.

Weekly certifications for the previous week can be filed online 24/7. While we know that many people like to file their weekly certification for the week just ended as early as possible on Sunday, please note that weekly certifications can be filed any day of the week.        

Thank you,

      The Maine Department of Labor