Division of Unemployment Insurance
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Governor Larry Hogan has instructed the Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance to begin the process of reinstating the requirement for new and current unemployment insurance claimants to actively search for work and engage in reemployment activities each week.
In March 2020, the requirement to actively search for work was temporarily suspended for all unemployment insurance claimants due to the adverse economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With Maryland making great strides in its economic recovery and employers reopening for business, this suspension will be lifted in the coming weeks.
Please note that claimants do not need to take any additional actions in their BEACON 2.0 portal or on their weekly claim certifications at this time. All claimants will receive detailed instructions outlining the next steps they need to take in the coming weeks.
To find additional information about the many active recruitments and job fairs available in Maryland, we encourage you to visit the Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning’s website. Maryland’s American Job Centers, conveniently located in each of Maryland's counties and Baltimore City, offer a wide range of employment services for job seekers. Find the American Job Center closest to you. You may also visit the Maryland Workforce Exchange to explore new careers, apply for jobs, create resumes, find education and training programs, and more.
Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance (DUI) is transitioning from issuing benefit payments to unemployment insurance claimants via debit card through Bank America to direct deposit (or paper check) through Wells Fargo. The department is excited to provide claimants with the ability to have their unemployment insurance benefit payments transferred directly into their personal bank account through the fast, safe, and convenient direct deposit program. Claimants are strongly encouraged to enroll in direct deposit if they have a checking or savings account and their financial institution is able to receive direct deposits.
Timeline for Transition
Please pay close attention to the following timeline and take the necessary actions:
- April 30 through May 21
- Beginning Friday, April 30 through Friday, May 21 claimants will be prompted to select either direct deposit or paper check as their payment method through their BEACON portal or mobile app.
- Please note that claimants cannot select a new payment method through the IVR phone system.
- May 21
- Claimants MUST select direct deposit or paper check by Friday, May 21.
- Benefit payments will not be loaded onto existing debit cards and new debit cards will not be issued after Friday, May 21.
- Please note that there is not an automatic default option, so if claimants do not make a selection by Friday, May 21, their benefit payments will be delayed.
- May 24
- Beginning Monday, May 24 all unemployment insurance benefit payments will be made by either direct deposit or paper check to eligible claimants who have made their selection in BEACON.
- August 1
- If claimants have a balance on their Bank of America UI debit card after Friday, May 21, they will have until August 1, to withdraw, transfer, or use these funds.
- After August 1, Bank of America UI debit cards will be deactivated.
- If claimants have been issued a Bank of America UI Benefits Debit Card and cannot locate that card, please contact the Bank of America Customer Service Center at 855-847-2029.
Instructions for Selecting Preferred Payment Method
We strongly recommend that you choose your payment option as soon as possible to prevent a delay in benefit payments. To select your preferred payment method in your BEACON portal, please follow these steps:
- Sign into your BEACON 2.0 claimant portal or mobile app. A pop-up window should appear that notifies you of the requirement to choose a payment method.
- You can click on “Update Payment Method” or “Postpone.” Selecting “Postpone” allows you to update this information at a later time. If you postpone selecting your payment method, the pop-up window will appear every time you log into your BEACON portal.
- You will be presented with two options on the pop-up window, which include “Pay My Benefits Via Direct Deposit” and “Pay My Benefits Via Check”.
- If you select “Pay My Benefits Via Direct Deposit” you will be prompted to provide your bank account information, including the account type, bank name, routing number, and account number. For detailed instructions and additional information, please visit the Direct Deposit of Benefit Payments FAQs.
- If you select “Pay My Benefits Via Check” you will be asked to confirm your mailing address. You must do so even if your mailing address has not changed. For detailed instructions and information about paper checks, please visit the Direct Deposit of Benefit Payments FAQs.
Don’t Have a Bank or Credit Union Account?
If you do not have an account with a financial institution, but would like to select direct deposit as your payment method, consider opening a bank or credit union account now. There are many options in Maryland. To learn more general information about bank and credit union accounts, read the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation’s Frequently Asked Questions. To learn about some of the many bank account options available for Marylanders, visit the CASH Campaign of Maryland’s Bank On Maryland program. You may also contact a financial institution of your choice. Please note it is a consumer’s responsibility to thoroughly research and review any information provided by any of these entities before opening an account.
If you have questions about the department’s transition from issuing benefit payments to claimants via debit card through Bank America to direct deposit (or paper check) through Wells Fargo, please read our Direct Deposit of Benefit Payments Frequently Asked Questions.
Overview of Programs
On March 11, 2021, the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021,” a federal COVID-19 relief package that extends the CARES Act and the CAUW Act programs, was signed into law. The four federal PUA, PEUC, FPUC, and MEUC unemployment insurance programs are extended in Maryland until the week ending Saturday, September 4, 2021.
Information about the American Rescue Plan Act can also be found on the linked flyer.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
- Provides benefits for claimants who are ineligible for regular UI and unemployed due to a COVID-19 related reason. This includes gig workers, independent contractors, the self-employed, and those with insufficient work history.
- Per new USDOL guidelines, eligibility for PUA has been expanded to include:
- Individuals who were denied unemployment benefits because they refused to return to work or refused an offer of work at a worksite that, in either rinstance, is not in compliance with local, state, or national health and safety standards directly related to COVID-19;
- Individuals who provide services to an educational institution or educational service agency and are unemployed or partially unemployed because of volatility in the work schedule that is directly caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency (this includes, but is not limited to, changes in schedules and partial closures); and
- Individuals experiencing a reduction of hours or a temporary or permanent layoff as a direct result of the Covid-19 public health emergency.
- Claimants are required to provide proof of their employment in order to be eligible for PUA.
- The federal government has extended the PUA program by several months. PUA is extended in Maryland from Sunday, March 14, 2021, to Saturday, September 4, 2021.
- Eligible claimants can receive a total of up to 79 weeks of PUA, including any previous weeks of PUA a claimant has already received. Weeks of regular UI and extended benefits received after February 2, 2020, are also counted against maximum PUA eligibility.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
- Provides an additional $300 per week for claimants who receive at least $1 in benefits under another unemployment insurance program: (Regular UI; Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE); Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX); Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC); Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA); Extended Benefits (EB); Short-Time Compensation (STC) (called Worksharing in Maryland); and Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA).
- The federal government extended FPUC by several months. FPUC is extended in Maryland from Sunday, March 14, 2021, to Saturday, September 4, 2021.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
- Provides benefits to claimants after they have exhausted their Regular UI benefits.
- Regular UI benefits must have been exhausted on or after July 1, 2019.
- The federal government has extended the PEUC program by several months. PEUC is extended in Maryland from Sunday, March 14, 2021, to Saturday, September 4, 2021.
- PEUC is available for a total of up to 53 weeks, including any previous weeks of PEUC a claimant received.
Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation Program (MEUC)
- Provides an additional $100 weekly benefit payment to claimants that are receiving Regular UI, PEUC, EB, or Work Sharing benefits. It is NOT available to PUA claimants.
- MEUC is extended in Maryland from Sunday, March 14, 2021, to Saturday, September 4, 2021.
- To be eligible, claimants must have earned both employment wages and self employment income (at least $5,000 in NET SELF-EMPLOYMENT income in the completed taxable year prior to their Regular UI application).
- Claimants must provide documentation substantiating their self-employment income.
- Labor began accepting applications for the MEUC program on Monday, March 1, 2021, and began making MEUC payments on Friday, March 12, 2021. Claimants will receive payment backdated to their earliest date of eligibility. All potentially eligible claimants will be notified.
No Gap in Benefit Eligibility or Delay in Payment
The Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance worked around the clock to quickly program and implement all four extended federal unemployment insurance programs. As a result, there will be no gap in benefit eligibility or delay in payment for claimants who received benefits the week ending Saturday, March 13, 2021.
Next Steps for Claimants
All claimants have received an e-mail specifying whether they should file their weekly claim certification or reopen their claim for the week ending Saturday, March 20, 2021 in their BEACON 2.0 portal.
$300 FPUC Benefit Payment
All claimants who are eligible to receive benefits will automatically receive the new FPUC amount of $300 on top of their regular benefit amount beginning from Sunday, March 14, 2021, through the week ending Saturday, September 4, 2021, as long as they remain eligible for benefits and file their weekly claim certification.
Proof of Employment Documentation Requirement for PUA Claimants
As a result of new federal requirements, claimants must provide proof of employment documentation to be eligible for the PUA program. All PUA claimants will receive an action item in their BEACON portal. Learn more about the proof of employment requirement.
With the record number of unemployment insurance claims filed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland, and states across the entire country, have seen an increase in activity by bad actors and fraudsters using illegally obtained data to file fraudulent unemployment insurance claims. Please note that there has been NO breach in our BEACON unemployment system.
If you believe that your information has been used to fraudulently file an unemployment insurance claim, please contact the Division of Unemployment Insurance’s Benefit Payment Control Unit by completing a “Request for Investigation of Unemployment Insurance Fraud” form and e-mailing it to email@example.com.
If you received a 1099-G tax form, but did not apply for unemployment insurance benefits in Maryland in 2020, then please complete this Affidavit form and submit it along with picture ID to the Benefit Payment Control Unit by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an employer and believe a fraudulent claim has been charged to your account, please file a benefit charge protest through your employer portal.
If you believe fraudulent transactions have been made on your Bank of America Debit Card, please contact the Debit Card Customer Service Center at 1-855-847-2029 to file a report and request a replacement card.
We have been alerted to a number of potential scam operations that are attempting to prey on unemployment insurance claimants. To help you distinguish between legitimate assistance from Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance (DUI) staff and fraudulent assistance from a potential scammer, please remember the following:
- DUI will never request or require payment for assistance with unemployment insurance, especially not through apps like Venmo or Cashapp.
- DUI staff will not provide assistance to claimants through direct message on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
- DUI will never arrange for an adjudication or fact-finding interview over any teleconferencing platform, such as Zoom, BlueJeans, Google Hangout Meets, or Skype.
- DUI does not provide assistance through text message and will not send any links asking a claimant to verify their account through text.
- DUI will never ask for your bank account number, debit card number, or credit card number over e-mail or on social media
- DUI will never request your BEACON password over e-mail.
- All e-mails from legitimate DUI staff will come from a @maryland.gov e-mail address.
- Do not provide any sensitive information related to your Maryland unemployment insurance claim by e-mail unless it is to a @maryland.gov e-mail address.
Avoid Scams on Social Media
Please be aware of pages and scammers on social media pretending to be the Maryland Department of Labor. Scammers are replicating the Maryland Department of Labor’s social media pages, directly messaging claimants, and attempting to steal their identity by asking for their personal information. These pages are particularly targeting members of unemployment groups on Facebook.
Fraudulent pages may look similar, but are newly created, do not have a lengthy history of posts, spelled differently (often with typos), and not verified with a blue check mark. “Maryland department of labour” is an example of a fraudulent page that looks similar, but is spelled differently. If you find a fraudulent page, please report it to the social media platform immediately and DO NOT respond to their messages.
Links to the Maryland Department of Labor’s official government agency social media pages can be found below:
Identity Theft Resources
If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, please read the Maryland State Police's Identity Theft Protection Quick Guide. For more information about identity theft, please visit the Commissioner of Financial Regulation identity theft page.
Governor Larry Hogan recently signed the bipartisan RELIEF Act of 2021, which will provide more than $1 billion in tax relief and economic stimulus funds to Maryland residents, small businesses, and unemployed workers. The RELIEF Act was enacted to help Marylanders who are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Assistance of Unemployment Workers
- Repeals state and local income taxes on unemployment insurance benefits for the 2020 and 2021 tax years for claimants who meet certain household income requirements (federal adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 for individuals, or $100,000 for married couples filing jointly). This tax relief effort will result in a $400 million savings for unemployed workers. Any questions about unemployment insurance benefit taxes need to be directed to: Comptroller’s Taxpayer Services Division at email@example.com or via phone at 1-833-345-0787.
- The Comptroller of Maryland shall provide a $1,000 grant to any individual whose claim for unemployment benefits is pending a determination of eligibility and has been in adjudication for at least 30 days, except for a claim where the failure to determine eligibility is related to an allegation of fraud. The Comptroller will mail eligible claimants a paper check. If you do not receive a check from the Comptroller, you were not on the list of eligible claimants sent as of March 3. Claimants are only entitled to receive one grant per person. This grant is in no way a determination of eligibility for benefits. Qualifying claimants do not need to take any action to receive the grant. For more information, select the Maryland Office of the Comptroller RELIEF Act Frequently Asked Questions.
Assistance for Employers
- The Division of Unemployment Insurance (DUI) will calculate tax rates for contributory employers based on their pre-pandemic experience, using the computation date, July 1, 2019, and using the normal computation date. These employers will receive the lower of the two rates. This provision will be in effect through the 2nd July after Governor Hogan lifts the state of emergency.
- Contributory employers with fewer than 50 employees have the option to defer submitting their contribution and employment reports for the first 3 quarters of calendar year 2021. If an employer elects to do so, they can defer payment until the due date for the 4th quarter of 2021: January 31, 2022.
- Reimbursable employers with fewer than 50 employees may elect to defer payment of their bills for the first 3 quarters of 2021. Employers who choose to defer these payments must pay them on the due date for the fourth quarter of 2021. Reimbursable employers with fewer than 50 employees may receive authorization from DUI to defer payments for the calendar year 2022 until a date which DUI will establish. Employers will not be considered delinquent or charged interest payments for the deferral period.
Unemployment insurance benefits are subject to federal and state income tax. If you collected unemployment insurance benefits in 2020, you will need the I.R.S. 1099-G tax form to complete your 2020 federal and state tax returns. Please note that when you completed your initial claim application, you chose whether to have any taxes withheld from your weekly benefit amount. If you chose not to withhold any taxes, then you will be required to pay the appropriate taxes on the total benefits received when you pay your taxes.
Maryland’s Division of Unemployment Insurance has issued a 1099-G tax form to all claimants that received unemployment insurance benefits during the calendar year 2020 (from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020) based on the delivery preference chosen in their BEACON portal.
All claimants will be able to immediately access their 1099-G tax form by visiting their BEACON portal and selecting Correspondences from “Your Options.” Select “Search” to display all Correspondences and select “1099” to view. If you selected the U.S. Mail as your preferred method of delivery, then you will also receive a 1099-G tax form in the mail.
If you receive a 1099-G tax form, but did not apply for or receive unemployment insurance benefits in Maryland in 2020, then please complete this Affidavit form and submit it along with picture ID to the Benefit Payment Control Unit by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you did not receive unemployment benefits in 2020, you will not be responsible for paying taxes on that money once the Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance confirms that the claim was fraudulently filed.
To learn about the Earned Income Tax Credit, find locations offering FREE tax preparation through the CASH Campaign of Maryland, get financial help with the cost of health coverage through the Maryland Health Connection, and more, please visit our website. To learn more about the 1099-G tax form, please read our Frequently Asked Questions.
The fully modernized BEACON 2.0 unemployment insurance system launched for claimants and for employers.
BEACON 2.0 is a multi-year project dating back to 2015 that integrates all benefits, appeals, tax, and reemployment functions of the unemployment insurance system. BEACON 2.0 is replacing a legacy mainframe IT system that is several decades old.
In addition to all that claimants can already accomplish in the current BEACON One-Stop application, launched to accommodate the unprecedented surge of new claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, the BEACON 2.0 system will offer claimants and employers dozens of new online features.
Claimant Portal User Guide and Glossary
Download the Claimant Mobile App
The BEACON mobile app called “MD Unemployment for Claimants” is available to download for free from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store. The mobile app allows claimants to easily file their weekly claim certifications, view and update claimant information, and more directly from their mobile device. To download the app in the iOS App Store, please visit https://bit.ly/AppleMDBEACON. To download the app in the Google Play Store, please visit https://bit.ly/GoogleMDBEACON.
For questions regarding BEACON 2.0, file an inquiry using our new Inquiry Form or call an agent at 667-207-6520. Please include your full legal name, complete address, phone number, e-mail address, the last four digits of your Social Security number, claimant ID number, and/or a brief description of the issue you are experiencing.
The new BEACON 2.0 system offers dozens of new features and will greatly improve the user experience for both claimants and employers. Check out the new functionalities and upgraded features below:
New Features for Claimants
Claimants will now be able to:
- Receive immediate updates regarding their claim status, including up-to-date information about their eligibility
- Retrieve correspondence and other claimant information
- Review benefit payment history
- Respond to fact-finding requests (as required) for additional information
- Submit supporting documents for Adjudication or Appeals
- File appeals
- Track and pay overpayments
- Use reemployment services
- Maintain their portal account
Existing Features for Claimants
Claimants will still be able to:
- Access their unemployment insurance claim 24 hours / 7 days per week
- File initial claims for all program types:
- Regular UI
- Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE)
- Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX)
- Combined Wage Claim (CWC) - Maryland and Out-of-State Claim
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
- Extended Benefits (EB)
- Workshare Claimants
- Trade Claimants
- File weekly claim certifications
- Update Account details
- Update requests for Tax withholding
- Mobile App
- Review benefit payment history
New Features for Employers
Employers will now be able to:
- Submit required reports and information
- Update their account information such as address, contact, and ownership
- Access their tax rate and other UI-related information
- Submit wage reports and pay contributions
- Submit adjustments to previously filed wage reports
- Respond to Requests for Separation information
- File an Appeal
- Submit supporting documents for Appeals or Adjudication
- View all correspondence generated by the system
- Set up an agent to manage their account
- Get assistance by contacting the new employer/agent call center at 410-949-0033 (starting Monday, September 21, 2020)
- Mobile App coming soon
New Features for Third Party Agents
Agents will now be able to:
- Submit a power of attorney online and access their customer’s account based on their privileges granted by the power of attorney
- File wage reports on behalf of their clients
- Make contribution payments on behalf of their clients
- File Appeals on behalf of their clients
- Obtain rate information for their clients
- Get assistance by contacting the new employer/agent call center at 410-949-0033 (starting Monday, September 21, 2020)
Introducing the BEACON claimant application
Account Activation and Login
Updating Benefit Payment Information and Income Tax Withholding
Filing Your Weekly Certification
Filing An Appeal
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) application
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) application
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) weekly claim request
Overview of Claimant Portal
View and Complete an Action Item
Employers and Third Party Agents, take a look at BEACON tutorial videos for you.
The Division of Unemployment Insurance’s website and call centers are currently experiencing an unprecedented volume of users due to COVID-19. This may result in longer than usual wait times. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience during these uncertain times.
Please be assured that Maryland does not have a waiting week like many other states do. No matter when or how they file, Marylanders become eligible for benefits starting the day after they separated from employment. Your payment will be backdated to the date you became unemployed, not when your claim was processed. If you are determined to be eligible, you will be paid for all benefits due.
Important Contact Information and Links
We strongly encourage you to utilize our online BEACON application to file your claim, which is available online 24/7.
Claimant Phone Number
- To contact a live agent to file a new claim or inquire about an existing claim, please call 667-207-6520, toll free.
- Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have more than doubled our Claims Center staffing and have further extended hours. Live claims agents are available from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, and on Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Claimants now have the option to call us seven days a week.
- If you call during business hours, you may provide a callback number. When an agent becomes available, the system will call the number and connect you with an agent. You may also be offered the opportunity to connect with a virtual agent to have questions answered by smartphone.
Employer and Agent Phone Number
- The Employer Call Center will be available beginning September 21, 2020 and can be reached at 410-949-0033.
- If you need activating your employer or agent account in BEACON, please contact the Account Activation Hotline at 410-767-8997.
Connect with IVR System to File Telecerts and More
- To connect with the new IVR system available 24/7, call 410-949-0022 or 1-800-827-4839, toll free. Please listen carefully as the voice and many prompts have changed.
- Using the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, claimants can file weekly claim certifications for both regular and pandemic unemployment insurance claims by phone. Claimants can also file a telecert for multiple weeks, reset their PIN number, check their payment status, receive filing instructions, and more without having to connect with a claims agent.
You may file an inquiry with our Inquiry Form. Simply complete the requested information and enter a brief description of your question. You will receive a tracking number to follow-up on the response to your question.
You may also chat with our Virtual Assistant on our Division of Unemployment Insurance homepage. Simply click on the blue “Chat with us” bar in the lower right hand corner of the screen. An area to type in your question will appear.
- COVID-19 FAQs for Claimants and Employers
- Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) FAQs
- BEACON FAQs
- CARES Act FAQs
- Work Search Exemption FAQs
- Weekly Claim Certification FAQs
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) FAQs
- Benefit Payment and Bank of America Debit Card FAQs
- Work Sharing Program FAQs
- Employer Bulk Claims FAQs
- Employer 1st Quarter Report FAQs
Additional State Resources
If you are in need of additional financial assistance, the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation has created a Financial Relief Guide for Marylanders. The guide summarizes some of the many COVID-19 financial relief programs and consumer protections that are available for Maryland residents and their families.
You may be eligible for additional supportive benefits and services through the Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS). In addition to cash and food purchasing support, you may qualify for counseling and other services. Find out what services may be available for you by completing an initial application online or you may contact DHS' 24-hour helpline at 1-800-332-6347.
For additional state resources from the state departments of Labor, Human Resources, and Housing and Community Development, please visit the State of Maryland Financial Resources & Services.
- Important Information about Maryland's Unemployment Insurance 2021 Tax Rates
- New Employer Account Registration
- File and Pay Quarterly Contribution Report
- Submit a Request for Separation Information
- State Information Data Exchange System (SIDES)
- Owe Taxes? No Driver's License or Vehicle Registration Renewal
- Control Your Unemployment Insurance Costs
- Forms and Publications
- Employment Related Posters and Notices
- Online Applications
- Contact Information
Live Agent - 667-207-6520
IVR Number – 410-949-0022
For Hearing Impaired Only:
Maryland Relay dial 711
File an inquiry using our Inquiry Form
Baltimore area - 410-949-0033
Toll free within the US - 1-800-492-5524
MD Unemployment Insurance Tax MVA License Renewal - 410-767-2699
- Fraudulent Unemployment Insurance Claim Review Data
- UI Weekly Claims by County
- Avoiding Debit Card Fraud
- New Procedures for Employer Contribution Reports
- Governor Larry Hogan Announces Cuts in Unemployment Insurance Taxes
- Unemployment Insurance Payment Plan Information
- Division of Unemployment Insurance Warns Claimants Against Fraudulent Websites
- Resource Guide for the Unemployed
- Find a Job in Maryland
- Maryland New Hire Registry
- Assistance from the MD Dept. of Human Resources
- Official Payments
- Job Dislocation, Making Smart Financial Choices after a Job Loss
El desempleo y sus finanzas: Cómo tomar decisiones inteligentes al perder su empleo
- Info about tax benefits and FREE tax preparation
- Financial help with the cost of health coverage