The Maine Department of Labor is working to implement program changes in response to legislation signed Friday, Dec. 17, reauthorizing federally funded unemployment extensions, according to a press release from the labor department.

The measure will continue the Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits programs. The programs began to expire in late November, and the lapse would have meant a premature end to unemployment benefits for more than 21,000 laid-off workers in the months ahead.

Workers who had their benefits disrupted in recent weeks due to the phase-out of the EUC or EB programs will be notified by mail of their next steps. The process for starting up payments once again will vary, depending on each person’s status at the time of the program phase-out.  

The department is encouraging people to continue filing their weekly claims, even during this break between the extensions, the release states. Any other requirements will be identified in the upcoming mailing.

“The best way for workers who had a disruption to reopen their claim is to fill out the paperwork that will arrive in the mail,” said Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman in the release. “We understand how important these benefits are to Maine’s workers, and strive to reinstate the programs as quickly as possible.”

Maine law provides up to 26 weeks of Regular Unemployment Compensation to workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program has added up to 47 weeks of benefits, with up to an additional 13 weeks under the Extended Benefits program.

There are no new tiers, or weeks of benefits, included in the legislation. That means that workers who ran out of all benefits available to them through EUC or EB programs will not receive any additional weeks as a result of this proposal. Also, this new legislation does not change the High Extended Benefit program, which ended earlier in November. The Federal Additional Compensation program, which added $25 to each weekly payment, was not renewed. This program began phasing out in June and is now ended completely.

More information about the extensions is posted on the Maine Department of Labor Unemployment Benefits Web site at