Federal unemployment benefits in Maine delayed at least a week

Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 6:06 AM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) - The Commissioner of Maine’s Department of Labor says people receiving unemployment assistance from the federal government will likely see a week-long gap in benefits.

Commissioner Laura Fortman says the delay comes after two federal unemployment programs, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), expired the day after Christmas.

Fortman says the agency is reviewing legislation extending those programs signed by President Trump and are working as quickly as possible.

Fortman released a statement Monday which said, in part, “as was the case with previous federal unemployment programs, states must receive guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor before they can fully implement the changes and begin issuing payments. having weekly certifications already on file will ensure that payments can be made to eligible individuals as soon as the federal changes are implemented.”

Fortman says she hopes the Mills’ administration’s one time $600 payments for roughly 40,000 Mainers this month will help bridge the gap.

“All of our attention is making sure we understand what the program does so we can, as quickly as possible, get these benefits out to people who desperately need them and are eligible for them,” Fortman said.

Fortman is urging people receiving benefits to continue to file weekly certifications.

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