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Information for New Claimants - Unemployment Insurance

If you are a new claimant (an individual who files a claim for unemployment insurance benefits, also called applying for benefits), the information below is meant to help you understand the unemployment insurance (UI) process and provide resources with detailed information about common UI inquiries.

  1. How do I apply for UI benefits?
  2. How will I know if I am eligible for UI benefits?
  3. What should I do if I disagree with a determination the Division made?
  4. What is the BEACON system and how do I use it?
  5. I was determined to be eligible for UI benefits. What do I need to do now?
  6. How do I meet Maryland’s work search requirements?
  7. There is an issue on my claim. Where can I get more information?
  8. Who can I contact for help finding a new job?
  9. How do I contact the Division?
  1. How do I apply for UI benefits?

    Applying for UI benefits (also called filing an initial claim) is the first step in your UI process. You can file an initial claim either:

    • in the online BEACON UI system, available 24/7; or,
    • by calling a claims agent at 667-207-6520. Agents are available Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    In addition to filing an initial claim for benefits, claimants can use BEACON to find information about their UI claim and complete several UI tasks conveniently online. To learn more about BEACON, see Question #4 below.

    For information about filing an initial claim, see:


  2. How will I know if I am eligible for UI benefits?

    After you file, the Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance (the Division) will determine whether you are eligible for UI benefits. The Division will send you a Statement of Wages and Monetary Determination, which will inform you whether or not you are eligible.

    This notice will be sent through your preferred communication method (email, text message, mail) and will be available in your BEACON portal. You will select your preferred communication method when you file an initial claim. For information about changing your communication method, see the Quick Actions section of the BEACON Claimant User Guide.

  3. What should I do if I disagree with a determination the Division made?

    If you disagree with the Division’s determination about whether you are eligible for benefits, you can file an appeal with the Lower Appeals Division. Please read the determination you received carefully for appeal rights and instructions.

    Information about filing an appeal is also available on the How to File an Appeal webpage.

    If you disagree with a decision the Lower Appeals Division made, you can appeal to the Board of Appeals. To learn more, see the Board of Appeals FAQs.

  4. What is the BEACON system and how do I use it?

    The online BEACON UI system provides a central portal for claimants, employers, and third-party agents to perform a number of important UI tasks. BEACON integrates benefits, appeals, and contributions functionalities. In BEACON, you can:

    • apply for UI benefits;
    • file weekly claim certifications;
    • update account details (name, address, email);
    • update tax withholding requests;
    • review benefit payment history; and,
    • receive immediate updates about their claim status, including information about their eligibility for UI benefits.

    To create a BEACON claimant account:


    For information about using BEACON, see:


  5. I was determined to be eligible for UI benefits. What do I need to do now?

    You must meet several requirements each week to continue to be eligible for UI benefits. You must:

    • be able, available, and actively seeking work See Question #6 below for details about meeting the actively seeking work requirement (also called the work search requirement).

    • file weekly claim certifications (also known as a request for payment).

    • be available and/or contact the Division and/or the Maryland Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning (DWDAL) when instructed to do so.
      • You may be selected to participate in a Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) workshop or Reemployment Opportunity Workshop (ROW). If selected, you are required to attend and complete the workshop. For more details, please see Unemployment Insurance in Maryland; A Guide to Reemployment

    • accept suitable job work, when it is offered to you. If you refuse an offer of work, the Division must determine if the job was suitable and whether you refused with good cause. Your previous work experience, distance from your home, length of unemployment, safety, risk to your health, prospects for obtaining work in your customary occupation, are some, but not all, of the factors the Division considers in determining whether the work is suitable. To learn more, see Unemployment Insurance in Maryland; A Guide to Reemployment.

    • report all payments you have received or know you will receive (such as wages, including from permanent, temporary, or part-time work, self-employment income, commission payments, your first payment from a pension you did not previously report, etc.) on your weekly claim certification.

      NOTE: If you receive certain payments (severance, vacation, holiday, bonus, back pay or damages, or other special payments) after filing an initial claim, report it by calling a claims agent at (667) 207-6520.


  6. How do I meet Maryland’s work search requirements?

    To fulfill the work search requirements, you must:

    • register in the Maryland Workforce Exchange (MWE) system;

    • upload or create a résumé in MWE, make the résumé viewable to employers, and maintain an up-to-date résumé while collecting UI benefits;

      • After you complete your MWE registration, check your MWE inbox frequently for information about weekly tasks or actions that you are required to complete. Failure to complete these activities may result in a delay or denial of your UI benefits.

    • complete at least three valid reemployment activities each week, which must include at least one job contact; and,

    • keep a detailed weekly record of all completed job contacts and valid reemployment activities. Claimants are strongly urged to use the Job Contact and Reemployment Activity Log, located in MWE, to keep this record.


  7. There is an issue on my claim. Where can I get more information?

    To see if there is an issue with your claim, select “Eligibility Issues'' from the left menu in your BEACON claimant portal or call a claims agent at 667-207-6520. Agents are available Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    For information about claim issues, see the Issues, Disqualifying Reasons and Penalties webpage.

  8. Who can I contact for help finding a new job?

    The Maryland Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning (DWDAL) offers several reemployment, career, apprenticeship, and education resources.

    • DWDAL also oversees Maryland’s American Job Centers, which offers employment and training resources to job seekers at 32 locations state-wide. Resources include career exploration assistance, referrals to training programs, placement services, résumé assistance, job search and work readiness workshops, and more.

    • Job seekers can also use the online Maryland Workforce Exchange (MWE) system. MWE is a powerful online job and career services system which offers the public a host of employment tools, including job listings, résumé assistance, labor market information, apprenticeships, training and educational programs, skills assessments, a virtual recruiter, and much more. MWE is available online and through a mobile app.

    • Additionally, DWDAL offers several specialized job seeker programs, including programs for immigrants, veterans, youth, workers ages 55 and older, and more. To learn more, see the Job Seeker Services webpage.

  9. How do I contact the Division?

    For a list of contact methods, see the Claimant Contact Information webpage.

    For a list of services individuals with disabilities may use to help them contact the Division, see the Special Accommodation Information and Resources webpage.

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