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More unemployment benefits available for Marylanders long out of work

As many as 58,000 Marylanders could be eligible next week for a new federally funded extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, state labor officials said Friday.

The Extended Benefits program, which takes effect Sunday, provides an extra 13 weeks of payments to Marylanders who have run out of their 26 weeks of state benefits plus the 47 weeks of federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

Employers will not be charged for the benefit, state officials said.

The state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation said it was mailing letters Friday and Saturday to everyone who might be eligible to apply. Applications will be taken online starting Monday at http://dllr.maryland.gov/employment/unemployment.shtml. Claimants may also mail in an application.

Recipients are expected to conduct a more "extensive" job search than is required to collect benefits in other unemployment insurance programs.

Eligible unemployed workers will be able to start collecting the extended benefits until Dec. 31, when the program will close to new applicants. Those receiving the benefits at that point will be permitted to finish their 13 weeks, the state said.

jhopkins@baltsun.com

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