BANGOR – The Maine Department of Labor commissioner says there have been issues with processing weekly unemployment benefits.
For some people who aren’t working now during the COVID-19 pandemic, not having their unemployment benefits come in on time is the last thing they need. According to commissioner Laura Fortman, that’s the case this week.
She said that on Monday, tens of thousands of unemployment benefit claims clogged up the benefits transfer system and it caused delays in the process.
“People saw, perhaps, a 24-hour delay in their benefit payment. It could have been as much as 72 hours, depending on the financial institution that they used,” Fortman said.
Fortman said for the week ending March 28, 23,000 new claims and 21,000 continued claims were filed.
“The week before that we had 21,000 initial claims and the week before that we had 670. So, we saw a 3400% increase over a week,” Fortman said.
She said the issue of insufficient bandwidth on the department’s end was fixed in a few hours.
She recommends people file weekly claims from Tuesday through Saturday, instead of doing it on just Monday, so it won’t cause a spike and a clog in their system again.
“We’ve never had this volume of claims before,” Fortman said. “We’ve made adjustments to the system to handle a larger bandwidth, to hopefully prevent that from happening as we move forward.”