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Maryland to extend unemployment eligibility cap for 13 weeks

The Maryland Department of Labor will offer an additional 13 weeks of unemployment insurance to claimants who have exhausted the maximum period for collecting the benefits as the coronavirus pandemic continues, state officials announced Friday.

The state will offer the additional weeks of benefits through the Federal-State Extended Benefits program, which is available for claimants who have exhausted both their 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits and 13 weeks of the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation assistance, according to state officials.

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Claimants will be able to receive their same amount of benefits as under the regular and PEUC programs, officials said.

Labor Department officials plan to send written notification to all potentially eligible claimants informing them they can apply for the extended benefits program in the state’s BEACON One-Stop portal.

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Maryland qualified to offer the extension by meeting the federal threshold, which says the insured unemployment rate must exceed 5% and be at least 120% of the corresponding average rate in the prior two years.

The number of weekly jobless claims in Maryland dropped again last week to 23,893, according to the state.

While that number is down by more than 9,400 from the prior week, it remains exponentially higher than before Gov. Larry Hogan ordered people to stay home and all nonessential workplaces closed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Only 2,090 jobless claims were filed the week ending March 7, before most Maryland businesses closed in response to the pandemic.

Baltimore Sun reporter Colin Campbell contributed to this article.

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