Filing for unemployment in Maryland is generally a straightforward, through stressful process. However, with the recent skyrocketing of unemployment claims and increase in eligibility and benefits, it has become even more important to understand the process. This is a short guide on applying for unemployment benefits in Maryland.
First, please be patient. More than 334,000 Marylanders have applied for unemployment since mid-March. During a recent interview, a manager for Maryland’s unemployment office said the previous Wednesday, her office had received 10 applications and the following Wednesday, because the business closings stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, her office received thousands of applications. To meet the surge, the unemployment office says it has been working extra hours and on Saturday.
Who can apply for Maryland unemployment?
Generally, full-time and part-time workers who have lost jobs through no fault of their own can apply.
However, because of the global pandemic, eligibility has been increased to include:
- Workers laid off because of the coronavirus outbreak.
- Workers ordered by a doctor or public health official to isolate themselves, according to the state labor department.
- Workers in Maryland who have to leave their jobs to avoid the risk of coronavirus exposure or to care for an infected family member. Gov. Larry Hogan signed the measure into law last month and it went into effect immediately.
- Worker’s whose place of business is closed because of social distancing orders, even if you haven’t been officially laid off from your job.
- The self-employed, also called the “gig economy.” Traditionally, independent contractors don’t qualify for unemployment but, because of recently approved federal legislation, the CARES Act, gig workers can now get approved for unemployment.
How do I file a claim for unemployment benefits in Maryland?
Unemployment claims can be submitted several different ways:
- There are two online sites set up to receive claims. Those seeking unemployment benefits in Maryland can apply online through the state Labor Department website, or the new portal for jobless claims, Beacon, that was launched April 24. Beacon is set up to accommodate a wider range of Maryland unemployment claims, such as the self-employed, including sole-proprietors, independent contractors and gig workers; workers who were previously required to file by phone such as those with three or more employers in the last 18 months and those lacking sufficient work history to be eligible for regular unemployment insurance. The Beacon site will also let claimants upload paystubs, W-2s, Form 1099s, etc. if required.
- Workers can apply by phone from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. weekdays.
Whether applying by phone or the Internet, Maryland unemployment claimants will be asked to provide their name, Social Security number, address and telephone number and employer contact information as well as the reason for leaving each job held within the past 18 months.
How much money can I collect in unemployment benefits in Maryland?
Unemployment benefits in Maryland are calculated using earnings over the first four of the last five calendar quarters. So, for anyone who became eligible for benefits in March, benefits are based on income earned in the year that ended Sept. 30. For those filing initial claims in April, May or June, benefits will be based on earnings in calendar year 2019.
Marylanders generally receive about half of their gross weekly wages, up to a maximum of $430 a week. However, under recently approved federal legislation, the CARES Act, workers approved for unemployment can also receive an additional $600 a week until July 31. So, those in Maryland who qualify for unemployment can receive up to $1030 a week. In fact, some workers have discovered that they can receive more money in unemployment benefits than they were paid through their job.
Unemployment benefits are normally paid out in Maryland for up to 26 weeks, but federal law has added an additional 13 weeks.
A recent news report says there is an email address for questions. The email is [email protected].
The Law Office of Thomas J. Maronick is open during the pandemic and will continue to meet your Ocean City and surrounding areas, Baltimore City and Baltimore county legal needs. A Baltimore/Ocean City attorney can help with the legal issues you are facing such as filing for bankruptcy in Maryland. The consultation is free. We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 410-885-1775, the law office at 410-885-1775 or through the website for a free consultation.