by Christy Bieber | April 1, 2020
The Ascent is reader-supported: we may earn a commission from offers on this page. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
Unemployment benefits could help you cover the bills if your income is cut or you are laid off because of the novel coronavirus.
COVID-19 has left millions of Americans worried about dwindling bank account balances as businesses all across the country have shut down in an effort to flatten the curve or slow the spread of the virus.
A job loss or reduction in your income can hit hard, and you may already be worried about how you will cover the bills. But there is financial help available, including unemployment insurance. This guide on how to apply for unemployment in Maine can help you understand these benefits and get signed up for them if you qualify.
Maine has established certain requirements you must meet to be eligible to receive unemployment income. These include the following:
Maine has announced it is waiving the work-search requirement through May 14, 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19. You're also not expected to look for work if you're planning to return to your job after a temporary COVID-19 closure. And if you've been ordered to quarantine, you could be eligible for benefits as long as you're ready to accept work that wouldn't cause you to break isolation.
You must always be available and ready to work, as unemployment is not intended to serve as a form of sick leave or short-term disability benefits.
The minimum income is calculated using a base period, which is usually the first four quarters of the most recent five calendar quarters completed prior to the date you file.
Your wages need to have equaled at least twice the average annual Maine weekly wage during at least two calendar quarters of your base period and you must have received at least six times the average weekly wage during your entire base period.
The average weekly wage as of July 1, 2019 is $856.79.
You can apply for unemployment benefits at ReEmployME or by phone at 800-593-7660. You will need to create an account and provide some basic information including:
After filing your initial claim, you must file a weekly certification either online or via phone.
To calculate your benefit, the first step is to determine your average wage in the two quarters of your base period when you earned the most. Then divide by 22. If you are the main source of support for a child who is under 18, disabled, or between 18 and 23 and going to school, you may also be eligible for a $10 dependency allowance per child.
Maine has a maximum benefit of $445, not including the $10 per week additional dependency benefit, which can't exceed half the weekly benefit amount.
And the federal government has passed a stimulus package providing for an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits through the end of July, so this will significantly raise the amount you can receive.
Maine's rules allow you to receive 26 full benefit payments during a 52-week benefit year. However, the CARES Act extends that period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.
If you want to appeal a decision on your unemployment benefits, you have to do so within 15 days from the mailing date of the decision. You can file your appeal online and should include the deputy's decision number, your Social Security number, and the benefit year ending date.
A hearing will then be scheduled where you can present your case. You should continue to file your weekly certifications during the appeal process.
If you've been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be facing some difficult financial decisions. Take the time to understand these rules and maximize your chances of qualifying for unemployment benefits in Maine.
Many people are missing out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big bank savings account earning next to no interest. The Ascent's picks of the best online savings accounts can earn you more than 12x the national average savings account rate. Click here to uncover the best-in-class picks that landed a spot on The Ascent's shortlist of the best savings accounts for 2021.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 - 2021 The Ascent. All rights reserved.