DEAR SUN SPOTS: I work for a local school department, but during the summer I’m usually self-employed. Now that the school year is over I find that, like so many others, I have no work. When I entered my Social Security number to file for unemployment for my summer job, the state’s computer thought that I was trying to collect unemployment from the school department which, of course, I can’t do during summer vacation. At the beginning of the form, I made sure to check the box that said I was self-employed. I canceled the application, but am at a loss as to how to file for benefits for my summer job. — No name, Lewiston

ANSWER: Get back on the unemployment site and file by answering all the questions to the best of your knowledge. Because you are usually dual-employed (both employed and self-employed) within a year, just type in all the data requested. You can add a screen for your self-employment information and you may have missed that. It’s a little tricky. Just read everything carefully and you’ll see where to add it.

If you still have an issue, the website at has a list of frequently-asked questions and answers that will help you and gives numbers to call if you feel the need to speak to someone. It is difficult to get through on the phone so be tenacious and don’t give up. Simply set aside some time and keep trying. The number is 1-800-593-7660. Once you get through, get comfy and be prepared to be on hold for a while.

If you use Facebook, there is a helpful group you can join called Maine Unemployment Insurance Assistance. Members can ask questions of other members with similar experiences on this page. Another helpful Facebook page is Maine AFL-CIO. You can send private messages with questions or add them to the comments.

I wish you luck with all this as I know there are many still waiting for benefits, but stay positive and don’t give up.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Following up on my note regarding old paint disposal that was in Sun Spots on June 3, I found my brochure for paint recycling that I had mentioned. You can take old paint to PaintCare site. According to their brochure, “PaintCare sets up convenient locations where households and businesses can recycle leftover house paint, stain, and varnish in those states with paint stewardship laws. It’s free! If you have 200+ gallons of unwanted paint, request a free large volume pickup. You can also get tips for buying the right amount of house paint, storing leftover paint, and using up leftovers. Paint retailers can learn about becoming a PaintCare drop-off location.” The website is or you can call their hotline at 1-855-724-6809. Most Aubuchon sites accept five gallons per visit.

— Melanie, no town

ANSWER: Thanks for sharing this information. I just want to add that there are several internet site ideas for using up leftover paint so it doesn’t have to be thrown away. Think outside the box and remember that even giving it away for free is better than having to dispose of it!

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].



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