With so many people laid off from their jobs, as businesses close to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Labor has some tips to make filing a claim more efficient.

It's a strange time, with a huge amount of Maine's businesses forced to close their doors, temporarily displacing an unprecedented amount of the state's workforce. That means, the Department of Labor is being inundated with requests for unemployment benefits. Officials say they're handling it, but there are some things filers can do to help make it a smooth process. First, the best way to file right now is online. The phone lines are very busy and getting a response could mean extremely long wait times, while you listen to the on-hold muzac.

Additionally, Dept. of Labor officials says that anyone with questions should submit them online. They promise that they will get back to you, but it could take a few days. Be patient. Don't resubmit your question, again and again, because that's just going to slow the process for everyone. There's a section of frequently asked questions on the Dept. of Labor's website, that also could give you the answers you need. If your question is 'should I file a claim,' they advise going ahead and doing it, so they can determine your eligibility.

For anyone who would still like to call, the number is 1-800-593-7660. The lines are open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

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