Department of Labor Provides Update on Unemployment Claim Filing on New System Bookmark and Share

December 13, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 13, 2017

Media Contact: Laura Hudson, Maine Department of Labor, 621-5009

AUGUSTA—On December 6, Maine Department of Labor launched our new ReEmployME unemployment filing system, part of a four-state unemployment insurance consortium with Mississippi, Connecticut and Rhode Island, after months of preparation and over a dozen various communications with those who would and could be most affected by the change – current and cyclical unemployment claimants, estimated to be roughly 7,000. As of this morning, a total of 7,193 current and cyclical claimants have successfully created their accounts and 5,986 weekly claims are in process. 2,646 claimants have received payments, which include multiple weeks. Volumes are where we expected them to be.

Amy Vetter, Business Systems Analyst with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, has been onsite and assisting throughout the process along with several of her co-workers who also were part of the consortium since its beginning. “We are very pleased with how things have gone so far with this upgrade to ReEmployME,” she said. “The issues that some Maine claimants have encountered are similar to issues Mississippi claimants encountered when we made the upgrade. From interface communication issues to data issues and everything in between, these things are an uncomfortable, but natural part of the process.” She added that ultimately we will "experience what Mississippi has experienced: a stronger, stable, more robust system that will meet the full needs of Maine and all its constituents."

The Department is seeing a common trend that unfortunately is slowing the process for as many as 800 or so claimants from receiving payments – incomplete Weekly Certification. A list of tips available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment should help address the most common issues we are resolving from claimants. Claimants can also view and download a guide to using ReEmployME at http://www.maine.gov/labor/unemployment/reemploymeguidelines.html .

Call Support Hours Extended

The Department has experienced overwhelming call volume, but is committed to taking as much time with each claimant as is needed to help them through this transition. This has led to calls-on-hold being dropped and longer than anticipated wait times. As a result, we have extended our customer service telephone support to 4:00 p.m. through next week to help any outstanding claimants finalize their claims and Work Searches on our new system.

Since deployment of the new system, the Department has offered a special ReEmployME ‘account setup’ telephone service at 207-623-6765 for anyone who needs help creating an account. Technical support can ONLY help claimants create a ReEmployME account and cannot troubleshoot issues. Claimants can call customer service at 1-800-593-7660 for help with any challenges they are having once their account is set up, or submit their issue online at http://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.shtml .

Work Search is Required when Filing

Whether filing a claim online or through the automated phone filing system, claimants must enter their required weekly Work Search online through ReEmployME for the claim to be processed. In the absence of the Work Search log, the filing process is incomplete and can not be processed for review. A large group of claimants completed the first part of the process using our automated telephone system, but have not gone online to ReEmployME to complete their required Work Search log. The department reached out to this group by email yesterday afternoon to help them with their challenges in completing the unemployment claim process.

Claimants can report their weekly Work Search log by logging in to or creating an account on ReEmployME at maine.gov/reemployme, clicking on Weekly Certifications, and entering the required Work Search information when prompted. Maine CareerCenters and state libraries have high-speed Internet and computers available for free use. CareerCenter staff can help claimants sign up for a free email address, create a ReEmployME account, register for Maine JobLink, learn how to create a resume and apply for jobs online. Find a Maine CareerCenter at http://www.mainecareercenter.gov/locations/index.shtml . Find a state library at http://www.maine.gov/msl/findlibs.htm .

Errors with Log-in Credentials

Another frequent issue being experienced is claimants using the wrong username and password to access their account. The Department strongly encourages claimants to write down their username and password when they create their ReEmployME account. Once a log-in is attempted and declined three times, the user is locked out until a technician here at the Department can unlock the account. The purpose of this lockout is to ensure that only the claimant can access their information. Claimants experiencing this issue will need to contact a customer service representative to unlock the log-in.

Isolated Issue Identified

The Department also identified an isolated issue for some claimants resulting from the transition to the new system. Our technical support staff identified a solution. Pending benefits were processed for this isolated group and sent to claimants’ banking institution, or funds sent to their debit cards, last night. The Department has reached out to this group by email and by telephone, explaining the issue, and advising those affected to continue to check their bank account for deposit activity over the next few days.

The Department is understanding of the challenges change can bring and appreciates patience while we help claimants transition through this new way of filing for unemployment benefits. We strongly encourage that one contact by a claimant be made per issue. This single contact will populate our customer service queue, and we will respond within 24-48 hours, based on the amount of issues that currently need to be resolved. Multiple calls or online inquiries by a claimant on the same issue can lead to customer service representatives duplicating resolution efforts, taking away from their ability to resolve a current issue or answer new issues, and therefore leading to longer wait times on the phone.

Maine Department of Labor is an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available to individuals with disabilities upon request.

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