BALTIMORE, MD—The Maryland Department of Labor on Thursday provided an important update on the implementation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). This Friday, April 24, the Department of Labor will be launching the BEACON one-stop application for Marylanders to file claims for all benefit types including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program entirely online.
The PUA program is available for those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, sole proprietors, or have insufficient work history. These individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance (UI) and who cannot work due to COVID-19 are now eligible to apply for a maximum of 39 weeks of benefits, effective January 27, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
The Division of Unemployment Insurance has issued guidelines on the implementation of the PUA program. Starting this Friday, those who qualify for PUA will be able to submit an application. Anyone who was previously denied for regular unemployment insurance benefits should complete the new initial claim application, which will allow the Department of Labor to determine eligibility for PUA or another unemployment benefit program.
After submitting an online application, eligible PUA claimants will receive their benefits retroactive to their earliest date of eligibility.
Here are the instructions on how to file a PUA claim:
- Visit MDunemployment.com and select “Apply for Unemployment Insurance Benefits” in the left hand column. This will take applicants to the BEACON one-stop application page.
- The first time that an applicant visits the application, they will need to activate their account by providing their social security number and choosing a Username and password. If they have previously applied for UI benefits in Maryland, they will need to have their UI application PIN available to validate their identity.
- Once they have activated their account, they will be able to file their PUA claim.
To file a PUA claim, applicants will need to have the following information available, as applicable:
- Social security number;
- Date of birth;
- Alien registration number, if you are not a citizen;
- Residential and mailing address;
- Telephone number and email address;
- Name, date of birth, and social security number of all dependents under 16 years of age that they will claim, as well the same information for each dependent’s other parent, such as the social security number and date of birth for any dependents that they claim;
- If they worked for the federal government, they will also need a SF-8 or SF-50 form; and
- If they are separated from military service, they will also need Form DD-214, member 4 copy.
To file a PUA claim, applicants will need to provide information and supporting documentation about their work and income history, which may include the following:
- Documentation of the income that was earned in 2019 (Schedule K-1, Form 1099, or summary of quarterly payments);
- All necessary licenses and permits for their self-employment; and
- Proof of an offer to begin employment that was postponed or withdrawn due to COVID-19.
When applicants login to the BEACON Uniform application, they will be in the user portal, where they will be able to receive notices and alerts about their account, including notifications regarding any missing documentation. Additionally, applicants will be able to select their preferred method of communication, including e-mail, text message, or postal mail. All communications will be available in the portal no matter which preference is selected, which will cut down on wait times to receive information about their claim.
After reviewing the application and supporting documentation, DUI will notify applicants of their eligibility through the portal and/or their preferred method of communication selected in the application. If eligible, applicants will need to visit the BEACON one-stop application every week to request the payment of benefits by filing a claim certification. For more information about filing a weekly claim certification, please visit the Department of Labor’s frequently asked questions. If an applicant is denied or ineligible for benefits, they will receive instructions on how to protest or appeal the determination.
Any applicant who is determined to be eligible for unemployment benefits will also automatically receive an additional $600 per week from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. The FPUC program applies to benefit payments from March 29th to July 25th. Payment of the $600 will be retroactive to the earliest date of eligibility within that time period.
For additional information, please visit MDunemployment.com.