All unemployment claims and issues in Maryland go through the Division of Unemployment Insurance in the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DUI). Unemployment insurance is funded by employers and it allocates money to those who are unemployed through no fault of their own. They must also be ready, able, and willing to work.
To be qualify for unemployment benefits, you must have earned enough wages in a 12-month period prior to your filing a claim. You must have earned those wages from an employer covered by the state’s unemployment insurance laws. If you meet the earnings requirement, you must also:
- Be unemployed through no fault of your own
- Be able and available to accept offers of suitable employment
- Be a US citizen or legally authorized to work in the US
Claimants must register with Maryland’s One-Stop Career Center System. You can enroll in person or online.
Eligibility Requirements Explained
Unemployed Through No Fault of Your Own
Your actions or decisions cannot be the cause of your separation from employment. Workers who are laid off or had their workplace close are examples of who are not at fault for their job loss.
Able and Available
You must be physically and mentally able to work. You must be available to accept any offer of suitable employment. “Suitable employment” is a job you’ve been trained to do or have performed previously at a salary in the range of prior earnings. The longer you remain unemployed, you will have to accept jobs that are less “suitable.”
You should be able to prove you are authorized to work in the US if a non-citizen.
Wage Earning Requirement and the Base Period
The department will look at your wages over a 12-month period called the base period. The “base period” is the first four quarters of the last five calendar quarters.
If you are not eligible using the standard base period, you may use an alternate base period. The alternate base period is the last four completed calendar quarters. You will have to contact the claim center to ask for an alternate base period.
The department will use the wages from the quarter in which you earned the most during the base period to determine eligibility.
Calculating Benefit Payments
The state also uses base period wages to determine how much you’ll receive weekly, called the weekly benefit amount (WBA). Your WBA will be about 1/2 of your average weekly wage up to the maximum WBA of $430. The minimum WBA is $50.
The department’s website provides a benefit payment chart online.
You can receive benefits for up to 26 weeks during the benefit year (a year from the date you filed).
You will receive a Determination of Monetary Eligibility, form DLLR/DUI 212 after you file your initial claim. This will show how the DUI determined your wages and WBA. If you disagree with the math, you may request a redetermination. You will have 15 days from the mailing date of this document in which to make the request.
If the determination notes that you have earned enough wages, this does not mean you are going to get benefits. Wait for the Notice of Benefit Determination to find out.
During times of high unemployment, the state or federal government may authorize additional weeks of benefit payments. No program is currently active.
If you earn part-time wages during your benefit year, you may receive partial benefit payments. This may extend the number of weeks you receive benefits.
You may also receive an additional $8 per dependent child, up to five children. A “dependent” is defined as a son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, or legally adopted child (not grandchild or foster child) under 16 years of age for which you provide support. Your dependent payments will not allow you to exceed the maximum WBA.
How to Apply
Filing an initial claim is the first step to receiving unemployment benefits. You will need your full name, social security number, address, telephone number, information for your dependents, and the name, payroll address, telephone number, and reason for separation for all employers that you have had in the previous 18 months.
You can file online at Maryland Unemployment or via telephone. The telephone number you call depends on which area you are calling from.
Filing Continuing Claims and Maintaining Eligibility
If your initial claim is approved, you will have to file continued claims for each week that you are unemployed. The state requires this in order to ensure you are maintaining eligibility status.
You cannot file for the week until Saturday. After the initial week of payments, you file once every two weeks. You may call Telecert or you may go on the web and use Webcert to file your continued claims.
However you file, the system will ask questions on topics intended to determine whether you may receive benefits. Questions will cover:
- Whether you are able and available to work
- Whether you are looking for work
- Whether you started or quit a new job
- Whether you refused an offer of employment
- Whether you earned any wages or income
If you earned any wages, you must report those earnings. You should report them during the week you earned them rather than when you were paid. If you refused a job offer, then you must report that as well. You must show why the job was not “suitable employment.”
If you are receiving unemployment insurance payments and you find part-time, you may still be able to claim partial benefits. For each week that you request payment, you can earn up to $50 without it affecting the amount of unemployment you receive. However, you must still report any amount under $50 that you make. When you report earnings, your benefits will be adjusted appropriately.
Work Search Requirement
Looking for a job while receiving benefits is important to maintaining eligibility. You will have registered with career center. Additionally, you must make at least two “job contacts” per week to show you are making a good faith effort to find work.
A job contact is a verifiable communication with someone in a position to influence a hiring decision. The DUI may perform an audit of your job search efforts at any time, so keep this info on your job searches handy:
- Date contacted
- Contact information (address, telephone number, website information, etc.)
- How you contacted the employer (in-person, telephone, internet, etc.)
- Person contacted (if available)
- Type of work sought
- Did you apply for a job, if so how (in person, internet, mail, filled out application, sent resume, etc.)
- If internet application completed, confirmation number
- Results of application (pending, not hiring, will call, not accepting application, etc.)
Reasons for Denial of Benefits
If you do not meet the wage requirements, you will not qualify for unemployment benefits. As noted, you will have an opportunity to request a redetermination of your eligibility.
If you do meet the wage requirements, the DUI may still deny benefits for the other reasons. You may not meet the requirements based on your separation from work, or may be otherwise ineligible. You can also lose your benefits after an initial determination of eligibility.
If you quit without good cause or are discharged for misconduct, the DUI will deny your claim for benefits.
Quitting for personal reasons may result in a denial of benefits. If you quit to return to school, this is a personal reason, even though going back to school may be a “good” cause. Quitting because of a lack of transportation is also a personal reason because transportation is your responsibility. Also, it isn’t likely your employer caused your transportation issues.
When you are fired, the DUI examiner will seek to determine whether you were discharged for misconduct. “Misconduct” is defined as actions or inaction that show a disregard for your employer’s interests. When you repeatedly violate an employer policy, clearly stated, you are likely to be ineligible for benefits. Some one-time instances, like stealing on the job, are obviously misconduct.
Quit and Still Eligible
If you quit work for a “good cause,” you may be eligible for benefits. A “good cause” may be something the employer did or failed to do to leave you with little choice but to quit. Your employer may have forced you to work in unsafe conditions. You will have to show those conditions existed when you quit, and that you made every effort to work out the situation.
Fired and Still Eligible
Your employer may fire you, but the reason may not be “misconduct” according to the DUI examiner. The employer may discharge you because they believe you could not perform the duties as required. This is not misconduct.
You may be ineligible for benefits because you were unable to work when you filed. You may have been disabled, for example. You would collect disability benefits instead. If you become unable to work after you fiile, you may be able to continue receiving benefits. The DUI would have to examine your medical condition.
Being unavailable to work, like being incarcerated or a becoming a full-time student may cause a denial of benefits.
You may also lose your benefits because you don’t look for work, don’t respond to requests from the DUI or otherwise violate DUI rules.
What Happens When the DUI Denies Benefits
Your request for unemployment insurance payments may be denied. If this happens, you will receive a Notice of Benefit Determination that explains why your claim was denied. If you disagree with the decision, you may appeal it. You must file your appeal within 15 days of the day that you were denied benefits. Appeals must be mailed to the Appeals Division and signed by the person requesting the appeal. Your employer may also appeal if you are given unemployment insurance benefits. You may need to attend an appeal hearing.
If you are filing an appeal, you should still continue to file continued claims. If you win your appeal and you have not filed continued claims, you will not be paid for that time period.
Read more about filing an appeal at our page on Maryland unemployment benefits appeals.
In the event that your initial claim is approved, you will receive a Notice of First Benefit Payment Approval and Mailing of Your Prepaid Citibank Debit Card. Your first payment has been approved; further payments must be approved through continued claims. Within seven days of the notice, you should receive a Citibank debit card that is loaded with your first week of payments. You may request that Citibank deposits your benefits into your account instead of onto a debit card. To do this, call Citibank at 1-800-582-4910.
Find your claim center
File an initial claim online
File an ongoing claim online
Claimant Information Service
410-949-0022 for people calling from Baltimore or out-of-state
1-800-827-4839 for people calling from Maryland but outside of Baltimore
Address for appeals
1100 N. Eutaw St. Room 505
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone number for appeals
Sign up for Maryland’s Career Center online
Find your career center