BALTIMORE, MD—The Maryland Department of Labor on Monday apologized for recent issues with its unemployment website.
Since Friday’s launch of the newly-revamped site, which was overhauled in order to accommodate self-employed individuals and “gig workers” filing for benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, many users have complained that the site is frequently down or non-responsive.
“The Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance sincerely apologizes for the difficulties surrounding applications for unemployment insurance benefits,” said Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson in a statement on Monday. “The launch of the new online BEACON One-Stop application was intended to offer Marylanders the opportunity to quickly and easily file all types of claims and weekly certifications entirely online 24/7. The launch of the site has clearly fallen short.”
“We share your frustration, and are committed to ensuring the site is fully functional and operating without capacity delays as quickly as possible,” Robinson continued. “We understand the dire financial situation that many of our Maryland families, friends and neighbors are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We do not take this responsibility lightly.”
In order to implement the federal CARES Act programs in a timely manner, the department recently partnered with Sagitec, an outside benefits administration program vendor. Officials say they were hoping this partnership would allow them to overhaul the site in a matter of weeks instead of months, but the platform was simply unable to handle the volume of visitors that were trying to apply.
The Department of Labor is implementing a series of measures to make the system more operate more efficiently.
From the statement:
In order to prevent the overload of the system that users have experienced, we have introduced a virtual waiting line. By entering this system, you will be able to see how many individuals are waiting for site access, receive an estimated wait time that is constantly updated, and sign-up to receive an email when the system is ready for you to access the platform. This will provide more certainty about when you will receive assistance, but, more importantly, it will help ensure the capacity problems the platform experienced in the past do not reoccur.
We anticipate that, despite the waiting time, the process of filing your claim and certifications will proceed more smoothly because of the limitation on the number of people able to file at a given time.
We are also implementing a new gating system to increase the number of customers who are able to complete their filings with minimal hassle and frustration:
- On Sundays and Mondays, ONLY our customers who are filing weekly claim certifications will be able to file, in order to ensure that Marylanders can receive their payments timely and when needed. If you are unable to file your weekly claim certification on Sunday or Monday, you are not restricted from filing it on any other day.
- On Tuesdays through Saturdays, our customers can file new claims as well as complete all other activities.
“The Department of Labor is working around the clock to improve this situation, and we will keep you updated on a regular basis,” added Robinson. “During these trying times, you deserve openness, clarity, and transparency from us, and we will do better.”
Maryland’s unemployment website can be accessed at https://www.mdunemployment.com.
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