The Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 1991, which increasedunemployment benefits for claimants in Maryland, also changed the benefit entitlements and eligibility requirements for former service members.

Benefits are now increased to 26 weeks, and the five-week waiting period before former service members could collect benefits has been eliminated. This affects former service members for the periodof unemployment starting Nov. 17, 1991.

There are no retroactive benefits payable for weeks prior to thisdate.

The first category of changes applies to former service members who filed claims effective Nov. 24, 1990, or later, who exhausted their benefits, or who are still unemployed. These claimants may beeligible for up to 13 additional weeks of unemployment.

People inthis category will be contacted and given filing instructions by mail. It is not necessary for these claimants to report to the local unemployment insurance office because they will be able to file by mail.

In the second category, certain classes of former service memberswho were in active-duty reserve status and were initially ineligibleto get benefits may now be eligible if still unemployed.

Former service members who were in active-duty reserve status, filed claims effective Nov. 24, 1990, or later, and were found ineligible for benefits because they served less than 180 continuous days of active duty or who failed to file because of that same reason, may now file, because the requirement has been reduced to 90 days.

Claimants who consider themselves eligible under this new condition should report to their local unemployment insurance office with a copy of Department ofDefense Form 214.

The third category includes former service members who filed new claims for benefits after Nov. 17. If otherwise eligible for benefits, these claimants may receive 26 weeks of benefits and will not be required to serve a five-week waiting period.

Information: (410) 333-6917 or 333-5656.

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