BALTIMORE, MD—The Maryland Department of Labor on Wednesday announced that according to guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Unemployment Emergency Compensation (PEUC) unemployment insurance programs program created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will expire in Maryland on December 26.
“With these two federal unemployment insurance programs set to expire at the end of this month and the COVID-19 pandemic being far from over, it is crucial that Congress puts partisan politics aside and passes an additional financial relief package for the sake of people struggling not only here in Maryland, but across the entire country,” said Governor Larry Hogan.
While the law states that the programs end on Thursday, December 31, USDOL only allows states to pay claimants for a full week of unemployment. In Maryland, a full week is from Sunday to Saturday. Partial weeks of unemployment are not payable. Therefore, a claimants’ final week to file a claim for PUA or PEUC benefits in Maryland is the week ending December 26. If a claimant is eligible for PUA or PEUC benefits for the week ending December, 26, they will need to file a final claim certification during the week of Sunday, December 27 – Saturday, January 2 in order to receive their final payment for PUA or PEUC benefits.
“If Congress is going to extend these unemployment insurance programs, or create new programs, they need to act immediately,” said Labor Secretary Tiffany P. Robinson. “Claimants cannot afford to experience a lapse in benefits as we continue to face the devastating effects of this unprecedented economic and public health crisis.”
In accordance with CARES Act program requirements, claimants will not be paid out for any remaining weeks that may be left in their federal unemployment claim after the expiration date. However, if claimants have filed a claim for PUA or PEUC benefits, but are still awaiting a determination of their eligibility, they will receive all benefits they are due, even if their eligibility is determined after December 26.
All unemployment insurance claimants will receive a comprehensive email outlining the options that may be available to them. PUA claimants who earned sufficient W-2 wages in the most recent five quarters may be eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits and should consider applying for regular UI through their BEACON 2.0 portal. If PEUC claimants are eligible for the Extended Benefits (EB) program after their PEUC benefits expire, a link to “Apply for EB” will appear in their BEACON portal.
The PUA and PEUC programs were created by the federal government and Congress has not passed any extensions of these programs at this time. Maryland officials do not have the authority to extend the duration of these programs.
A comprehensive list of additional state resources from the state departments of Labor, Human Resources, and Housing and Community Development that are available to help Marylanders as these federal unemployment insurance programs end is available at www.labor.maryland.gov/whatsnews/stateofmarylandresources.pdf.