Maryland Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

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  • Maryland unemployment benefits provide financial support for unemployed residents. Find out if you're eligible for unemployment benefits and how to apply.

The Maryland Department of Labor's Division of Unemployment Insurance (DUI) manages unemployment benefits for state residents. These benefits can help you make ends meet if you lose your job, but not everyone qualifies. The information below can help you prepare for the application process. 

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Maryland?

The DUI applies monetary and non-monetary eligibility criteria to assess unemployment benefits applications. You'll also need to meet ongoing criteria to continue receiving payments if your claim succeeds. 

Non-Monetary Eligibility

The DUI will only approve your benefits application if you're unemployed through no fault of your own. Therefore, you're likely to be eligible if your company laid you off because there wasn't enough work. You may not be allowed to draw benefits if you were fired for misconduct. 

You can't usually receive Maryland unemployment benefits if you choose to leave your job unless you can prove that you had a good reason. The DUI may consider granting your application if you quit in the following circumstances:

  • Your spouse has to relocate for work
  • You experienced workplace harassment or a hostile working environment
  • You were subjected to dangerous working conditions

In some situations, you can draw partial unemployment benefits if your employer reduces your hours due to a lack of work. In this situation, you can continue working any available hours while claiming benefits to help make up some of the shortfall in wages. However, you must accept any shifts offered to you to remain eligible for partial benefits. 

Job Search Requirements

You must be available to work throughout your claim period and do everything possible to secure full-time employment. You should also create an account on the Maryland Workforce Exchange (MWE) website and upload a current resume, ensuring that you enable viewing by potential employers. 

While receiving benefits, log into your MWE account regularly and answer any mandatory questions. You should also keep a record of all completed re-employment activities, and ensure you complete a minimum of three activities per week. Examples of valid re-employment activities include:

  • Applying for a job
  • Meeting a prospective employer or attending an interview
  • Attending an industry networking event
  • Registering with an employment agency
  • Participating in a re-employment workshop

The DUI may waive the requirement to search for work or be available to work if you're temporarily laid-off and due to return to work within ten weeks. It may also grant waivers if you're called to jury duty, attend an approved training course or have union membership.

You must take any suitable role offered to you to avoid losing your benefits entitlement. Generally, the DUI considers a job offer suitable if it offers industry-appropriate pay, safe working conditions and is an accessible distance from your home.

Monetary Eligibility

You can only claim unemployment benefits in Maryland if you worked for a covered employer during your base period. A covered employer is a company that contributes tax premiums to Maryland's unemployment insurance program. 

You must also earn a minimum amount over the base period to qualify. The base period spans the first four of the last five finished calendar quarters immediately before your unemployment insurance benefits application. However, the DUI may consider your earnings across an alternative period of the last four calendar quarters if you didn't earn enough over the usual base period. To be eligible, you must have:

  • Received at least $900 in covered wages in the quarter when you earned the most
  • Earned at least $300 over the rest of the base period
  • Worked during at least two base period quarters

How Do You Apply for Maryland Unemployment Benefits?

You can make your initial claim for unemployment benefits in Maryland using the online BEACON 2.0 portal. Alternatively, you can apply over the phone at (667) 207-6520. Have the following information on hand when you call:

  • Postal and email address
  • Social Security number
  • 18-month employment history
  • Names and Social Security numbers of any child dependents
  • Alien registration number (non-U.S. citizens)
  • Reason for unemployment
  • SF-8 or SF-50 form (ex-federal government workers)
  • Form DD14 Member 4 Copy (ex-military employees)

You'll need to disclose any payments you're receiving or expect to receive during your claim period, such as severance, holiday or back pay. Inform the DUI immediately if you become aware of a payment after filing for Maryland unemployment benefits. 

Benefits recipients must file a weekly claim certification through the BEACON 2.0 portal after the benefits week ends. You should claim before 11:59 p.m. on the Saturday of the following week, and filing late could delay your benefits payment. Alternatively, you can file a weekly claim certification by telephone by calling:

  • (410) 949-0022 (Baltimore or out-of-state)
  • (800) 827-4839 (Rest of Maryland)

How Much Do You Get From Maryland Unemployment?

If the DUI approves your claim, you'll receive a monetary determination document stating your fixed weekly benefit amount (WBA). The division determines your WBA using your base period earnings. The WBA ranges between $50 and $430, according to the state's UI law. 

Generally, you can receive Maryland unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. However, the DUI may extend the maximum claim period in certain circumstances. People enrolled in an approved training program may be entitled to a further 26 weeks of Additional Training Benefits (ATB) paid at the same rate as their unemployment insurance WBA.

People with dependent children can claim an additional $8 per week per child, up to a maximum of five children. You cannot claim these extra benefits at the same time as the child's other parent. It's essential to declare any dependents when you make your initial application because you can't add them to your claim later. Your WBA plus dependents' allowance cannot exceed $430.

It's essential to disclose any income you received when you file your weekly claim, including from casual or self-employed work. Receiving wages may change your WBA for that week. 

What Happens if Unemployment Claims in Maryland Are Denied?

You can appeal the DUI's decision if it refuses your benefits application. You should submit your appeal before the deadline printed on your determination letter through the BEACON 2.0 portal or via email to Alternatively, you can mail a written appeal to:

Maryland Department of Labor
Lower Appeals Division
1100 N. Eutaw Street, Room 505
Baltimore, MD 21201

Your appeal should include your full name, the date on your determination document, and the final four digits of your Social Security number. You should also include an explanation of why you disagree with the determination. Continue filing your weekly claim certifications, so you can claim backdated payments if your appeal is successful.

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