MARYLAND — In the middle of the holiday season, lots of Marylanders are frustrated to learn their unemployment insurance program ended earlier this month.
The U.S. Department of Labor said Maryland has officially “triggered off” of the federally funded unemployment insurance program known as “Extended Benefits” or “EB”.
Claimants eligible for EB last week should file to claim federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, but many are left scrambling because those benefits are set to expire this weekend.
Over 10,000 people have filed for EB since it first became available at the end of July, but we don’t know how many have lost their benefits.
EB became available for claimants who exhausted their regular Unemployment Insurance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
It was triggered on because Maryland’s unemployment rate reached 6% in June.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor triggered off EB for Maryland because the state’s insured unemployment rate fell below %5.
The notification came on December 16 that the EB program ended four days earlier.
A spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Labor said the U.S. Department of Labor determines when the program is “triggered on” or “triggered off” based on the state’s economic conditions.
According to the notification from the U.S. Department of Labor, the final benefit week of the Extended Benefits program was the week ending Saturday, December 12, 2020.
Claimants who were eligible for EB for the week ending December 19, 2020, have received an e-mail from the department and will see a link to file a claim for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits in their BEACON portal beginning on Sunday, December 20, but those benefits are set to expire this weekend as part of the CARES Act.
However, Congress is expected to vote today to pass a $900 billion COVID-19 economic relief package, which includes an extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
Under the current CARES Act, since the extension has not been passed yet, the deadline for EB claimants to file a claim for PUA is this Sunday and if approved, their claim may be backdated to avoid any gap in benefit eligibility.
If Congress passes legislation to extend these CARES Act programs, the Maryland Department of Labor will provide detailed instructions and next steps for claimants as soon as the information is available.
For more information about the Unemployment Insurance program in Maryland, please visit MDunemployment.com.