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Assistance Program For Self-Employed Mainers Starts Friday Morning

Self-employed and contract workers in Maine will be able to apply for unemployment starting Friday morning at 8 AM, as the state rolls out its anticipated Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

State Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman says contrary to previous statements, the state is not going to require up-front income documents.

"If you are self-employed, you will be asked to provide documentation of your earnings after you start receiving your initial benefits,” she says. “I made this decision to help get money in your pocket faster."

And Fortman says many workers who previously applied for state benefits but were rejected or ineligible for the state program will likely not need to reapply.

Fortman says applicants do not all need to log on or call Friday morning. Some may apply for the week anytime until 11:59 PM on Saturday.

The state received 7400 new applications for unemployment assistance last week. Fortman says the number is falling, but still historically high.