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Please stop causing Maryland’s jobless to suffer | READER COMMENTARY

Maryland Labor Department Secretary Tiffany Robinson talks about the state's unemployment insurance claims at a news conference in Annapolis last summer. Gov. Larry Hogan is standing right. (AP Photo/Brian Witte).
Maryland Labor Department Secretary Tiffany Robinson talks about the state's unemployment insurance claims at a news conference in Annapolis last summer. Gov. Larry Hogan is standing right. (AP Photo/Brian Witte). (Brian Witte/AP)

I am writing to express my frustration with Maryland’s Division of Unemployment Insurance as well as with Gov. Larry Hogan. I was a self-employed, small-business owner until the pandemic forced me to shut down. Difficulties with the Unemployment Insurance system in 2020 led me to sell most of my business supplies just to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. I had to let my business license lapse because I couldn’t afford the fee. I have been surviving on the $300 weekly federal benefit, which costs Maryland absolutely nothing. I have been saving as much as possible and had a detailed plan and budget to reopen my business based on the benefits I was promised by Congress. Those benefits were my last hope.

Now that Governor Hogan has decided to end those benefits prematurely (”Complaints continue with Maryland unemployment site as jobless workers report confusion, glitches,” June 7), I can longer reopen my business, not to mention pay my rent and feed myself. I spent 12 years building that business on my own, and now am faced with getting a low-paying retail job that won’t pay the bills. After a year of seemingly unending stress, I’m now faced with this demoralizing prospect.

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In addition, the state’s unemployment website now seems to be broken. I signed up for direct deposit weeks before the deadline. After two weeks of getting approved but not getting the money, a customer service representative told me she had no idea what was wrong. She said she would have to open a service ticket but couldn’t give me any timeline as to when my issue might be addressed. In desperation, I changed my payment method to a paper check. Another two weeks later, and I still haven’t received my payments.

People are suffering due to problems and decisions that they have no control over. I thought our elected leaders were supposed to be there to help their constituents, not make them suffer more than they already are.

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Jennifer L. Graham, Kensington

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