MD to Reinstate Work Requirement for Unemployment Benefits

Maryland is poised to return to its standard work-search requirements for unemployment benefits, suspended during the longterm pandemic.

Amidst multiple changes to, and frustrations with, the unemployment insurance program, Maryland is heading toward reinstating the work search requirement for recipients of benefits.

From coverage in the Baltimore Sun:

Unemployment insurance traditionally requires recipients to show they’re looking for a job. That changed in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic hit. Maryland, like other states, suspended its work-search requirement last March as businesses shut down and record-breaking numbers of people lost their jobs.

Last month, Democratic President Joe Biden directed the U.S. Department of Labor to work with states to reinstate work-search requirements if health and safety conditions allow.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said that month the state would do so. The state released more details this week as Hogan also announced he would end Maryland’s participation in pandemic unemployment programs that enhanced benefits, including the extra $300 weekly payments and coverage for the self-employed.

Unemployment benefits are typically envisioned as a public policy “cushion” to assist those seeking work to engage in a suitable job search. The circumstances of the pandemic moves governments to waive these requirements, as many sectors of the economy were so shaken that re-hiring was all but eclipsed.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties