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Reforming Maryland’s Unemployment Insurance System

Official portrait

Maryland’s unemployment system has been wracked with problems since the beginning of the pandemic. Last month, the state adjudicated just 37-percent of its claims within three weeks, far below the national standard.

Thursday, leaders in the Senate and House of Delegates announced a package of reforms to address the issues.

Among the reforms is a plan to make sure the unemployment call center is adequately staffed, that people can get unemployment benefits through direct deposit or paper checks rather than using a debit card, and that the state Department of Labor launch a study of broad reforms.

Senate President Bill Ferguson said in a news conference the problems aren’t with the labor department employees, but with the system.

 “The unemployment insurance system in our state is symbolic of a broken system,” he said. “Now that the legislature is in session, we are determined to do our part and provide the correct tools to ensure that we do better.”

The legislation to be introduced also would require the labor department to create a disaster protocol to remove red tape and increase staffing.



Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.
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