Unemployed Workers Union back in court, claims thousands still haven't received benefits

Unemployed workers union
Posted at 3:50 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 07:43:05-04

BALTIMORE — The Unemployed Workers Union returned to court Wednesday, claiming the State of Maryland has yet to payout benefits to thousands of their clients.

On July 13, a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge granted a preliminary injunction, ordering Governor Larry Hogan and Maryland Secretary of Labor Tiffany Robinson to continue issuing federal unemployment benefits through September 6.

RELATED: Judge grants preliminary injunction preventing Gov. Hogan from ending federal unemployment benefits in Maryland

Alec Summerfield, attorney for the Unemployed Workers Union, hailed the court's decision but said it was just one part of the lawsuit.

He claims thousands of applicants are still locked out of their Beacon accounts and have been denied benefits on suspicion of fraud.

Some of those affected spoke outside the courthouse Wednesday afternoon, including Baltimore County resident Henrietta Louise Heitzeri.

In a court affidavit, Heitzeri writes about being a bus attendant for 28 years prior to being laid off and battling breast cancer for a second time.

She claims to have not received any benefits since February.

"Every time I sent in my documents I was told that the documents were not received or there was an issue with what I sent," wrote Heitzeri. "Eventually, my account was flagged as potential fraud."

As of July 13 -- 20,797 in-state unemployment claims are still under review, according to the State Labor Department.

MORE: Several arrests made as Maryland reports 1.4 million fraudulent unemployment insurance claims

Since the beginning of the pandemic -- 1,216,132 claims have been flagged as potentially fraudulent, 91.90 percent (1,117,599) of which actually were.