June 9, 2021

Unemployment Benefits – House Economic Matters Committee Updates

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Updates from the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee – June 8, 2021

  • Starting July 3, Maryland will end its $300 supplemental weekly unemployment payments
    • Maryland is one of multiple states opting out of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
    • Nationwide, benefits were are set to expire during the first week of September. Maryland will end the benefit two months early and forfeit $1.5 million in federal stimulus money
  • $12.3 billion in benefits paid since March 2020
  • Unemployment rate in MD is 6.2%
    • 12 consecutive months of job growth in the State
  • Dept. of Labor in touch with constituents about the end of federal packages
  • During the week of July 4, Labor will reinstate standard requirement for all regular state unemployment insurance claimants to actively search for work
    • Claimants required to complete 3 reemployment activities each week to maintain eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits
  • Many fraudulent claims are being entered, not going away
    • System is catching most of these claims
    • Relying on “checks and balances” system when regular UI applicants have wages
  • “Severe worker shortages”- business owners have been struggling to hire workers
  • 27 new apprenticeship programs established during the pandemic
  • Bipartisan budget agreement that includes $75 million in federal funding to apprenticeships, employment training programs
  • Different ways have been established to get Marylanders back into the workforce
    • Recruitments and job fairs
    • Job centers
    • Apprenticeships
    • Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program
  • Employers won’t be held responsible for any benefits that don’t apply to any of their employees

Questions

Q: Why the July 3 date? Has a carrot & stick approach been considered?
A: July 3 because of the number of people vaccinated, steady declining positivity rate, and businesses want to open back up to full capacity and begin running like normal; unemployment benefits are still available for those who qualify

Q: What is the number of total fraud claims flagged? What percentage is that of the total amount of claims?
A: 878,306 claims flagged, approx. 1.8 million total claims; Lexis Nexis is the vendor that will be looking at, flagging claims

In this instance, fraud is due to ID issues (stolen identities)
Q: Did Hogan consider economic research conducted when reaching July 3 termination date?
A: Governor Hogan did not make this decision in a vacuum; used national data regarding job openings

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