The Maine Department of Labor is urging workers whose jobs have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak to log into its website for instructions on how to file a claim.

If you do not have a computer, call 800-593-7660 and you will be connected to a representative who can assist with a claim.

In an effort to better manage the sudden influx, the department is boosting unemployment office staff by 100 people and changing its intake procedure. Starting April 6, an alphabetical call-in system based on the first letter of an applicant’s last name will be used.

Monday is reserved for Mainers with last names from “A” through “H,” Tuesday for “I” through “Q” and Wednesday for “R” through “Z.”

Thursday and Friday will remain unassigned for those who miss or can’t call on their alphabetical day, the department said.

Claims can be accepted online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to the Department of Labor. For claims filed under the new emergency unemployment legislation, the weeklong waiting period has been waived, but it may still take 10 to 14 days before you receive a payment.

Filers will need to create an account online and it may take up to two days before you can tell if your claim has been processed. Unemployment benefits will be paid for up to 26 weeks for those workers who qualify.

The expedited filing process became available after Gov. Janet Mills signed a temporary measure on March 18 to enhance the flexibility of the state’s Unemployment Insurance program. The program is designed to relieve the financial burden of temporary layoffs, isolation and medically necessary quarantine.


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