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Workers who rely on direct deposit for their unemployment benefits did not see usual payments on Tuesday morning due to what the Maine Department of Labor described as an “unprecedented volume” of claims.
The department said Tuesday morning that benefits might be delayed by 24 hours. Benefits were delayed for a similar reason the first week of April.
“Payment files have been received by the state’s designated financial institution and are currently being transmitted to beneficiary’s accounts. Please keep checking with your financial institution,” the department said on social media.
People receiving unemployment can file their weekly certifications beginning on Sunday each week. Tuesday is usually the first day for workers to receive benefits if they filed certifications on Sunday or Monday.
A spokesperson for the Maine Department of Labor said Tuesday that the volume of certifications at the beginning of the week led to a larger file of payment claims for the state’s system to process, causing the delay. The department is asking people to wait until slightly later in the week to file their weekly certification if possible in order to prevent the issue.
For the week ending June 6, the most recent week for which data are available, nearly 78,000 Mainers were receiving state unemployment benefits, while more than 23,000 were receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a program for self-employed workers.
Data on the number of unemployment claims in Maine has been complicated by a surge in fraudulent claims, though the number of weekly certifications filed dropped in June for the first time. Unemployment skyrocketed statewide in late March as the coronavirus forced businesses across the state to shutter their doors. As the virus has waned, restaurants, retail outlets and other businesses have gradually reopened.