BALTIMORE — There are new developments in the battle over unpaid benefits for unemployed workers.
New claimants joined in on a lawsuit for people who haven’t received benefits or are locked out.
Recently the Unemployed Workers Union filed an amended class action lawsuit covering tens of thousands of unpaid workers.
Tonight they told their stories about how waiting on their benefits is devastating their lives.
“It’s just been very challenging to take a step forward every single day when it feels like the state does not care about its own people,” said Terrell David.
It’s been an anguishing waiting game for the people still fighting for their unemployment benefits.
“I’m 61 years old I lost my job last year 3 and a half years away from retirement,” said Carol Everson. “Nothing could have prepared me for having my unemployment benefits stopped without any notice whatsoever. Overnight my beacon homepage where I file my weekly claims completely went blank.”
On July 13, a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge granted an order requiring Governor Larry Hogan and Maryland Secretary of Labor Tiffany Robinson to continue issuing federal unemployment benefits through September 6.
Now the Union is looking to get people the money they never received or stopped receiving.
“We’re also going to be demanding and this is something the city administration can do, City Council and the Mayor, County Councils and of course the state legislature,” said Sharon Black. “That is that we call for a moratorium on all evictions, foreclosures, repossessions and utility shut offs of all those unemployed workers who cannot pay their bills.”
Pro-Bono attorney Alec Summerfield claims thousands of applicants are still locked out of their Beacon accounts and have been denied benefits on suspicion of fraud.
“Our real goal now is to bring out the department of Labor and the States dirty laundry and we know they have plenty of it,” Summerfield said. “This is the process called discovery, which is a legal term. Once they file their answer which they have to in a couple of weeks. We’re going to ask for every damn document, every damn email, every damn piece of information that we know shows corruption and their decisions defrauding tens of thousands of workers in Maryland. You’re not defrauding anybody.”
The unemployed workers Union is also requesting a performance evaluation and investigation into how the Maryland Department of Labor used its resources during the pandemic.