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Maryland Unemployment Benefits Extended: What You Should Know

Updated : July 23rd, 2021

Maryland unemployment extension

Gov. Larry Hogan’s attempt to terminate Maryland’s unemployment benefits early was quashed by a Baltimore judge last week. Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill passed a preliminary injunction ordering immediate action to ensure that Maryland citizens receive all unemployment assistance made available by federal programs. 

The judgement was a consequence of multiple cases against the Governor’s decision to stop the three federal pandemic assistance programs. Even as Gov. Hogan defended his decision by stating worker shortages in Maryland, the state’s unemployed residents claim that unemployment programs have been helping them make ends meet and are not a deterrent to joining the workforce again. 

Are Unemployment Programs Affecting The Economy And The Workforce?

Adding to the claims of the unemployed, many economists are of the opinion that cutting short the length of the unemployment programs may, in turn, adversely affect the living standards of residents. Consequently, the state’s economy may suffer in the long run.

Another concern shared by economists and the unemployed people is the offering of low wages by most businesses. In many cases, the unemployment programs provide more monetary relief than what was being earned by most before the pandemic. The comparatively low wages with more responsibilities and added stress are not likely to appeal to the people relying on unemployment. 

So When Will Unemployment Programs Stop In Maryland?

As Maryland’s unemployment rate increased to 6.2% in June from 6.1% in May, the continuance of unemployment programs seems necessary. Certain sections of people like independent contractors, freelancers, self-employed individuals and others who have run out of regular state payments can rely on Maryland’s PUA assistance from the federal government.

Since Governor Hogan’s decision to end Maryland’s unemployment extension by July was halted courtesy of a court order, residents of Maryland can keep claiming unemployment benefits through early September.

Are There Any New Eligibility Requirements For Unemployment Programs?

There are no new eligibility requirements for unemployment programs in Maryland. However, on July 4, 2021, the Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance reinstated a previous eligibility requisite. Regular Unemployment Insurance claimants should actively search for work to maintain their eligibility. Residents claiming PUA and PEUC benefits should also start actively searching for work from July 18, 2021. 

What Is The Active Search For Work Requirement? How Does It Work?

If you want to file an unemployment claim in Maryland, you need to actively search for work. You must document at least three re-employment activities, one of which must be a job contact. If you do not follow these requirements, your benefits may get delayed or even denied. 

Maryland’s Department of Unemployment Insurance conducts verifications of your job contacts and re-employment activities. If you happen to receive weekly benefits despite not meeting the search for work criteria, you will have to repay the overpaid benefits. 

What qualifies as re-employment activities you ask? Any action you take that may reasonably lead to you being reemployed qualifies as a re-employment activity. You can complete several such activities on Maryland’s Workforce Exchange website. 

A job contact, on the other hand, is where you should attempt to contact a potential employer to secure employment. Job contacts can be – 

  • Applying for a job (online, fax, in person, etc.)
  • Meeting a potential employer in person
  • Attending a job interview
  • Contacting an employer via any method they specified

Your attempts at re-employment and job contacts should be recorded weekly in the Job Contact and Reemployment Activity Log on the MWE website. You need to fill in relevant information like the date of the activity, type of activity, or any supporting documentation in this log. You should register yourself on the MWE website to finish any of the aforementioned activities.

Concluding Thoughts

There is no question of unemployment benefits stopping again as Gov. Hogan has expressed a disinterest in making any more appeals or pursuing the case any longer. The statement made by the governor’s staff implies that while they believe in their initiative, taking any further legal action would just drag the matter longer than necessary.

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