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Readers Respond

Maryland’s unemployment office deserves to be out of a job | READER COMMENTARY

I’m writing to express my concern over the ineptness of the Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance, which I thought was restructured to better address the needs of the unemployed in Maryland (”Maryland will soon get roughly $3.7B in federal coronavirus relief, budget official says,” May 20). Unfortunately, given my current experience with them, that is not the case.

I am a 62-year-old man who has consistently held a job since the age of 11. The company I worked with for over 20 years was purchased by a large organization on April 1, 2020. Management decided they no longer required my services on March 2, 2021. I applied for unemployment benefits the next day to find out my name was used to try to fraudulently collect benefits. It took a month to resolve that issue with no clear guidance from the unemployment office. Once that was resolved, I created an account as required, and I have proceeded to file weekly certifications that are also required. As of May 26, 2021, I haven’t received a single payment.

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I call once a week, and I’m consistently told an adjudicator must call me to talk about my termination since my former employer failed to complete the necessary document submitted to them by the state office. When I called this week, I was told that some unemployed people have been waiting since June of 2020 for this adjudicator to call them.

Who is this adjudicator? Is there only one? Do I need to convince them I’m unemployed in order to collect benefits? How many people have been negatively affected by this person’s inability to connect with them? What kind of archaic process is this? In this age of technology, you would think there would be a system in place to automatically administer unemployment benefits after a certain time period has elapsed if there’s no response from the employer.

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The Maryland Department of Labor is, in my opinion, a direct contributor to the financial ruin of many Marylanders which, unfortunately, is in stark contrast to the department’s responsibilities to the citizens of Maryland.

Michael Mayfield, Bel Air

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