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Business and Economy

Applications For Expanded Unemployment Open Friday In Maine

After weeks of delay, the state’s Department of Labor says it will open applications for special unemployment assistance to self-employed Mainers starting Friday.

In a press release, the agency says the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program will allow nontraditional claimants, such as farmers and fishermen, gig economy workers and others, to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Department Commissioner Laura Fortman says final federal guidance on how to administer the program only arrived last Monday night, but that claims can be filed for lost revenues going back as far as March 15. The maximum weekly benefit falls at $445, but Fortman says those who qualify will in addition receive the extra $600 weekly benefit recently enacted by Congress.