How To File For Maine Unemployment

This page provides information on how to file for unemployment in Maine. If you lost your job or your hours were reduced at no fault of your own, you may qualify to receive unemployment benefits in your state. Review the information below, if you still have questions or issues about these benefits, then we suggest to contact your local Maine Unemployment Department for assistance. It is important that you file your new claim right away because Maine unemployment insurance are not retroactive.

You can apply as soon as you become unemployed. Any weeks prior to the date in which your application is filed cannot be considered, and are not eligible for benefits, so you should not wait to file your claim.

Apply for Maine unemployment benefits

You can apply for unemployment online, by telephone, or by mail. Your best option for filing an unemployment claim is to file online. Calling the department to speak with a customer service representative may be difficult during periods of high call volumes, especially Mondays and Tuesdays in the winter, you may experience a long wait time on the phone or get a message to call back later in the day. Wait times are typically shorter on Wednesdays and Thursdays and in the afternoon.

If you are temporarily laid off, your employer may provide you with a partial claim form if they expect to rehire you within a short period. When you apply, you will need the following information:

  • Your Social Security Number (and Alien Registration Number if applicable)
  • The business name, address and telephone number of each place you worked during the past 18 months
  • The jobs you held and the dates you worked (for each employer)
  • Dependent Information: Social Security number (s) of children whom you're the main support of

Veterans who separated from the armed forces in the past 18 months will need to provide information from a DD-214. Federal civilian employees will need to provide information from a SF-8 or SF-50.

Amount of benefits I will receive

The dollar amount you are qualified to receive each week is called your weekly benefit amount (WBA). It is based on your earnings during a set period prior to losing your job. The figure is calculated by dividing the average of your wages in the two highest quarters of your base period by 22. The maximum WBA is adjusted annually. Effective June 1, 2018, it is $431.00 (plus $10 per dependent per week, and can total no more than one half of the WBA).

The maximum amount of benefits you can receive, as well as the length of time that you may receive benefits, depends on your individual earnings, but is limited to a maximum of 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits. Not all individuals qualify for all 26 weeks. Not all weeks need to be used consecutively, but must be used within the benefit year.

Benefit Year

A benefit year is a period of 52 consecutive weeks; it begins with the week in which you file your initial application for benefits. Because a benefit year must be created for each claimant, the term is commonly used as shorthand for a person's unemployment "account." So, the term is used both to define the period during which you may be eligible to receive benefits and to describe the record you have established with the unemployment bureau to receive benefits.

Base Period

The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the first day of your benefit year. They will use the last four completed quarters if you are not eligible using the regular base period quarters.

After approved for Maine unemployment benefits

File a claim for every week you are fully or partially unemployed. To receive benefits for a specific week, you must file a weekly claim. You can file unemployment any day of the week online or by phone. Be aware, however, that each claim must be filed within 14 days of the week-ending date (Saturday) of the week you are claiming, or it may not be eligible for payment.

Look for work. To be eligible to receive unemployment benefits you must be both actively seeking employment and actively registered with Maine JobLink (unless you have been issued a waiver by the Department of Labor that specifically exempts you from having to look for work). Watch this short video that explains looking for work. If for some reason you are not registered with Maine JobLink, you must do so immediately online, or by visiting or contacting your local CareerCenter. You are now required to report your work search activity when filing your weekly certification.

You must be available for work, and able to work, each week you file a claim. You must be both physically capable of work and available to accept a job if one is offered to you. Examples of situations where a person may not be available for work include: vacation, schooling, illness, incarceration or lack of transportation. Call the unemployment office at 800-593-7660 if you have questions about any of the requirements listed above.

First unemployment check

It will take approximately two to three weeks from the date you first file a new claim to receive your first unemployment payment, assuming there are no potentially disqualifying issues to be addressed.

In cases where a fact finding interview is scheduled to adjudicate issues of eligibility, claimants allowed benefits will receive those monies shortly after they get their decision in the mail. The first eligible week claimed is a Waiting Period week, and no payment is made for that week. (Remember, you must file a claim to receive credit for the waiting week.)

File an appeal

To process your appeal you will need the Deputy's Decision and the following information:

  • Deputy's Decision Number
  • Claimant's Social Security Number
  • Benefit Year Ending (BYE)

You must provide this information during the appeal or the appeal cannot be filed. For a timely appeal, you must file the appeal within 15 calendar days of the mailing date of the Deputy's Decision. If you are unemployed, continue to file your Weekly Certification.

File Online:

File by Phone: Call Administrative Hearings at 207-621-5001. TTY Users Call Maine Relay 711

Fill out an Appeal Form: Each Deputy Decision has an appeal form printed on the back. Send it back to the Division of Administrative Hearings by either:

  • Mail: 30 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333
  • Fax: 207-287-5949
  • Hand Delivery to 45 Commerce Drive, Augusta, ME 04330 or to your local Maine CareerCenter
  • Email:

In the event that you are unclear whether your appeal was filed correctly, please call the Division of Administrative Hearings at 207-621-5001 or email