BALTIMORE, MD—The Maryland Department of Labor on Thursday provided an update on the processing and payment of unemployment insurance claims during the coronavirus pandemic.
From March 9 to June 6, the Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance paid a total of $2,214,266,716 regular and CARES Act unemployment insurance benefits to claimants. This total amount includes $1,552,076,707 in regular benefits, $633,452,108 in PUA benefits and $28,737,901 in PEUC benefits. Maryland was one of the first states to pay out benefits under all three programs.
The U.S. Department of Labor requires the state to report both the initial regular claim and the CARES Act claim. 528,919 claims filed from March 9 to June 6 are considered complete and potentially eligible for payment because they have filed a weekly claim certification and are not duplicates. Per federal guidelines, individuals filing for PUA and PEUC must first file for and be declared ineligible for regular UI benefits, resulting in two claim filings for one Maryland claimant. The Department of Labor can only pay one claimant for one complete claim filed.
Of the 528,919 complete claims total, 458,115 (86.6%) have been processed with 361,578 (68.4%) receiving benefit payments and 96,537(18.2%) being denied benefits for not meeting state and federal program requirements. Of the claims that have already been denied, the large majority were denied because claimants had issues related to the separation from their most recent employer or were determined to be monetarily ineligible.
Since the week ending May 23, the Maryland Department of Labor has reduced the adjudication backlog of claims by 49%. There are currently 70,804 (13.4%) claims pending adjudication. These pending claims have one or more issues that are blocking claimants from receiving payment.
By the end of the week, Labor will have implemented an IT solution to facilitate the processing of over 78% of regular unemployment insurance claims pending in adjudication because of non-monetary issues, such as conflicting reasons for separation from their previous employer. These customers will receive a detailed email from the department outlining the next steps they need to take. The remaining claims pending in adjudication with multiple issues will continue to be resolved by UI professionals.