NewsLocal News


Fight for pandemic unemployment benefits in court Monday morning

Judge expected to decide on benefit extension
MD unemployment
Posted at 8:05 AM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 16:32:21-04

BALTIMORE, Md. — A hearing in the battle over Federal unemployment benefits in Maryland is now postponed until Monday.

It was originally scheduled for Friday afternoon at Baltimore City Circuit Court.

A judge will decide if those extra benefits should continue past Tuesday.

The new hearing is scheduled for Monday at 9:30 a.m.

Governor Larry Hogan sought to end the extra federal benefits in an effort to help the economy but a temporary restraining order keeps the payments going until July 13th.

The federal program not only gives people an extra $300 a week but expanded eligibility as well.

Currently, the unemployment rate in the state of Maryland is just over 6 percent.

In the early months of the pandemic, in April of 2020, it hit a high of 9 percent. Before that, the unemployment rate held steady, at around 3.5 percent for more than a year.

On Tuesday, unemployed workers demonstrated outside the Maryland labor secretary's office in Baltimore, demanding for the extra benefits continue and to pay the claimants what they're owed.

The Unemployed Workers Union tried to deliver to the state labor secretary more than 3,000 grievances they've received from claimants. Many have said their complaints have gone unanswered.

Unemployed bartender Erika Lovetec said "I've emailed my delegates, everything, everything, filed grievances, everything, still haven't gotten my benefits. I mean, I don't know what to do at this point."

Governor Hogan wanted Maryland to drop out of the federal program on July 3rd, but after unemployed workers filed a lawsuit, a judge granted a temporary extension through July 13th while the case heads to a hearing.

Hogan decided to end additional federal unemployment assistance a few months early in an effort to get people back to work.

One demonstrator spoke out at Tuesday's labor secretary protest said "the fact that he can say go back to work, we have plenty jobs, but if you had a desk job, why would you wait tables, do you understand? If you had a job doing something else, why would you wait tables? If you had a job in a factory, making money, why would you go back to waiting tables? That's it. When you look at the job postings, that's the most of the jobs."

As some unemployed people are waiting to hear if the extra benefits will last through September there are many others still waiting to receive the benefits they're owed.

More protests are planned throughout the weekend.