Mainers who do not meet standard unemployment requirements to be able to file under new program this week

Published: Apr. 28, 2020 at 12:51 PM EDT
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Mainers who typically do not meet eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits will be able to apply for a new assistance program starting this Friday.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is a new federal program which expands eligibility for unemployment benefits to certain workers including self-employed, farmers and fishermen, independent contractors, some nonprofit employees, gig workers and others.

"I know that waiting for unemployment benefits has been a challenge for many, but help is on the way," Commissioner Laura Fortman said in a press release issued Tuesday.

All claims will be retroactive to the date a business closed or a job was ended to as far back as March 15, Fortman said.

PUA benefits start at 50 percent of the average weekly state unemployment benefit for those who are self-employed, with the maximum being $445 a week.

Those who file claims under this program will also receive an additional $600 a week through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program.

Those who do not need further review on their claim should start receiving benefits within seven days of filing, Fortman said.