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Jobless Marylanders Having Trouble Filing For Unemployment

Baltimore County

More than 100,000 Marylanders have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But many of them can’t get through to the state’s unemployment office to file a claim.

Baltimore County Economic Development Director Will Anderson said his office is hearing from people who haven’t been able to file. The Maryland Department of Labor is slammed with people filing so it can be hard to get through.

According to data released Thursday, more than 108,000  people applied for unemployment statewide last week. Baltimore County had more than any other jurisdiction, with more than 16,400 people filing. 

At a Baltimore County virtual town hall this week, Anderson advised people to try to file anyway. He said applying online is working better than calling.

“If you get stuck and you just can’t get through their system, call our team,” Anderson said.  “Our team at Baltimore County is working with the state to get people through the unemployment.”

The phone number there is 410-887-8000. 

Anderson said part-time and independent workers can apply for unemployment as well.  They now qualify under the federal CARES ACT, approved last month to help the millions of people who have lost work during the pandemic.

Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Gov. Larry Hogan, said in a tweet Thursday that the new unemployment numbers speak "to the scale of the economic pain people are feeling right now, and the challenges we face trying to process claims as fast as we possibly can."

State Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson, in a videotaped message, asked for patience.

“While we have expanded our call center hours and added servers to increase online speed and capacity, we know it’s not enough,” Robinson said.

She said no matter when you are finally able to file, benefits are calculated from the date of eligibility, not the date the application is submitted.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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