Anyone receiving unemployment benefits in Maine will get more money, starting next week, thanks to a federal program.

According to the Maine Department of Labor, Mainers receiving unemployment benefits  will start getting an additional $600 each week, through the federal CARES Act, beginning early next week. This is in addition to their current benefits. Claimants don't have to do anything different to receive the extra funds, but will need to have an existing unemployment insurance claim, continue filing weekly certifications, and be eligible to receive benefits. The additional funds will be retroactive in coordination with the enactment of the legislation and the individual's loss of employment. They will continue until July 25th, if the person remains eligible.

The CARES act is a federal program, passed by Congress in March, that aims to protect Americans from the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. CARES stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security.

The Maine Department of Labor has extended its unemployment call-in times, and more people have been added to answer the phones. The phone line is now open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and online services are available 24/7.

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