Maine Labor Department Says It Could Take Months To Adapt To Proposed Pandemic Unemployment Changes

Jul 28, 2020

The $1 trillion pandemic relief package Senate Republicans rolled out Monday includes a provision that would cut the current $600-per-week enhanced unemployment benefit down to $200. And then, in October, it would switch to 70 percent of a worker’s prior earnings.

Maine Department of Labor spokesperson Jessica Picard says while simply changing the $600 figure to a different flat amount could be done in about a week, individualizing payments would be much more complicated. She says the state doesn’t have a source of wage data for individual workers, and would have to find a way to get it.

“How to get it from claimants, from employers, their previous employers and then would have to do programming after we got the federal guidance,” she says. “I think we’d have to wait and see what the final bill would be, but it could take several months in order to collect all of that data and then do the programming.”

The $600 enhanced benefit is set to expire at the end of the month.