BALTIMORE — A Baltimore Circuit Court judge has dismissed the remainder of a class action lawsuit filed against the State Department of Labor over unemployment benefits that are allegedly still owed to thousands of Maryland residents.
Lawyers with the Unemployed Workers Union have long accused State Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson of unlawfully delaying the process of incoming claims to avoid payouts to those out of work.
Robinson defended her agency which for nearly two years has been flooded with claims, many of which have been found to be fraudulent.
As of October 19 — 18,551 claims were still waiting adjudication
At that time, the Labor Department said they had already processed 844,403 (97.9%) claims, with benefits being issued to 716,136 (83%).
Another 128,269 (14.9%) were denied for a variety of reasons, the most common being fraud.
Since the beginning of the pandemic — 1,532,078 claims have been found to be fraudulent.
Then there is the issue of those who were overpaid.
Since January 2020, the department overspent by a combined $469 million.
The state is currently in the process of reviewing those cases to determine if those people will owe that money back or not.
To help sort it all out, the department recently extended the contract of a vendor.
The legal issues began in June after Robinson and Governor Larry Hogan announced plans to cut off various enhanced unemployment benefits more than two months before they were to expire.
Another judge eventually issued an injunction against the administration, forcing the payouts to continue.
That date however has come and gone. Now with the lawsuit being dropped, those still waiting to be paid are left wondering if they ever will.
Wednesday's ruling was made with prejudice meaning, the lawsuit cannot be refiled.