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Maryland launches new unemployment website BEACON 2.0

Weekly $600 payments for unemployed ending sooner than expected
Posted at 6:03 PM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-22 07:29:33-04

PASADENA, Md. — "It's been over 6 months and things have gone fairly well," said Robert German, who lives in Pasadena.

German has been on unemployment since March, when he was laid off from his job at a restaurant at BWI Airport.

"The virus was starting to hit. The airport was closing down at the point and it’s been a mess," said German.

He said initially there were some problems but they all got straightened out. He hadn’t had another issue until yesterday.

"Every Sunday morning, I call unemployment. Usually I don’t have a problem. This time yesterday, it would not take my social security number," said German.

Sunday, the Maryland Department of Labor launched a fully modernized unemployment insurance system. Beacon 2.0 is a multi-year project that integrates all benefits, appeals, tax, and reemployment functions for claimants and employers.

Claimants can update their claims, see details of eligibility issues, respond to fact-finding questions, file appeals, submit supporting documents for appeals or adjudication, and track overpayments.

It also provide employers with a new portal, allowing them to quickly and easily access and manage their employer accounts entirely online.

The department said after this launch, over 271,000 unemployment insurance claimants have successfully filed their weekly claim certification as of 2:00 p.m. Monday, consistent with prior weeks.

But some like German have not been able to get through at all since the system launched.

"I called back several times today, maybe 8 times today already and you cannot get through to anyone," said German.

The Department of Labor said they are aware that some claimants are experiencing issues while trying to file their weekly claim certification and their vendor is investigating to resolve it as soon as possible.

"I just hope the system gets better for everyone. I’m not the only one in this situation. Other people need help and I just hope they get it fixed quickly," said German.

With the new system, claimants now have an extra day to file their weekly claim certification. Rather than needing to file by Friday you have until Saturday.