What are the types of unemployment currently available to Maryland residents?
Generally, unemployment payments in Maryland come from a single source. However, because of the federal legislation approved earlier this year by Congress, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Marylanders can receive additional unemployment benefits from federal sources.
This isn’t unusual. In times of high unemployment, federal and state programs may make additional weeks of benefits available. For example, during the “Great Recession,” federal benefits supplemented available state benefits, adding several weeks of unemployment payouts.
The federal law, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act approved by federal lawmakers earlier this year, establishes three ways for people to get unemployment benefits — an expansion of Maryland unemployment benefits and Maryland unemployment eligibility:
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) that extends benefits for an extra 13 weeks beyond Maryland’s normal 26 weeks, for a total of 39 weeks.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that extends benefits to self-employed, freelancers, and independent contractors.
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) that provides an additional federal benefit of $600 a week. This includes those who are eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, such as those who are self-employed as well as others. So, if approved for Maryland unemployment benefits, you will get your weekly state benefits as well as an additional $600 a week federal benefit.
However, you must be unable to work for one of the reasons listed in the CARES Act, including:
- your workplace was closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic; or
- you can’t work because of a quarantine order; or
- you or a member of your household has COVID-19; or
- you are the primary caretaker for a child whose school is closed or a family member with the coronavirus, or
- you had to stop working because of COVID-19.
Please note that if you are receiving paid sick leave or paid family leave, you are not considered “unemployed” for the purpose of collecting Maryland unemployment insurance benefits.
How do I meet the “actively seeking work” requirement during the pandemic?
You don’t have to. Generally, to receive Maryland unemployment benefits there is an “actively seeking work” requirement, which means that someone receiving unemployment benefits in Maryland must be looking for work and keep track of those efforts. However, because states are required to offer flexibility to applicants in meeting PEUC eligibility requirements related to “actively seeking work,” Maryland has waived the requirement so that Maryland unemployment recipients don’t have to be out there looking for work until the state of emergency declared by the governor has ended.
However, you still have to file your weekly certification.
What if my unemployment claim is denied?
If your unemployment claim is denied, you can file an appeal in writing to the Appeals Division within 15 calendar days of receiving your Notice of Benefit Determination. The notice will explain your appeal rights and how to submit your request for appeal. A hearing will be held on your appeal. You can testify, present witnesses and offer evidence. The Hearing Commissioner will issue a written decision.
If you aren’t satisfied with the Hearing Commissioner’s decision, you can appeal it to the Board of Appeals. If you aren’t satisfied with the decision of the Board of Appeals, you can seek review in state court. A Maryland unemployment lawyer can provide further details.
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 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.934.3007 or through the website for a free consultation.