State House hearing set for Maryland jobless claims problem

Maryland

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — 1,100 Marylanders who are out of work have registered to testify at a hearing Tuesday in Annapolis on a breakdown in the system for jobless claims.

But the joint committees on Budget & Taxation — and Finance — can only hear from 275 of them. Applicants report spending hours on the phone with the labor department and websites have been crashing, causing frustration as layoffs are on the rise during the pandemic. Washington County State Senator Andrew Serafini will be among those taking the testimony on an unprecedented experience in the state’s workforce.

“It would be like if you expected 20 people to come to dinner and 250 showed up,” says Serafini of the huge snafu. “And that the menu changed because the federal government kept changing things and these poeple are starving and they all have different needs. And so what was a very simple thing you had been doing for years, all of a sudden exploded.”

Last week Governor Larry Hogan acknowledged there was a five-day stretch when the system had crashed and was unable to process claims, but that the breakdown has since been fixed.

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