A Guide to Maryland Unemployment Benefits Eligibility

If you’re a Maryland resident who has found yourself unemployed, through no fault of your own, it’s likely that you can qualify for and receive unemployment benefits. Maryland unemployment benefits can help you cover living expenses while you search for a new job, and until you begin receiving paychecks from a new employer.  Maryland unemployment eligibility depends on several factors.

State of Maryland unemployment benefits are available to workers who have lost their job, but for reasons that are not their fault. In most cases, this temporary source of income can be utilized by workers who have been laid off, placed on a mandatory leave of absence, or are missing work due to a labor dispute.

To avoid confusion, you should know that Maryland calls its unemployment benefits “Unemployment Insurance,” but despite having a different name, offers the same assistance as many states offering unemployment payments. The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation handles all Maryland unemployment claims.

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How Unemployment Works in Maryland

And How To Get Unemployment in Maryland

  1. As soon as you've lost your job, it is important to file a Maryland unemployment application with the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. This can be done through the Maryland unemployment website, over the phone, or in-person at a Maryland unemployment office.
  2. After your Maryland unemployment application has been filed and approved, you will receive either an approval or rejection from the Maryland unemployment department. If approved, you must wait one week before beginning to receive benefits.
  3. Maryland unemployment requirements dictate that you must search for new work and submit proof of job hunting activities. You will be required to show proof of this during the Maryland unemployment claim filing process.
  4. After filing a weekly claim, you will receive your benefits on a state-provided debit card. In Maryland, unemployment amounts range from $50 to $430 per week depending on how much you made at your last job.
  5. Maryland unemployment laws dictate that you can only collect benefits for up to 26 weeks, although your Maryland unemployment weekly claims will no longer be filled if you find new work before then.

Do I qualify for Maryland unemployment insurance?

If you choose to apply for Maryland (MD) unemployment insurance benefits, the State of Maryland requires you to meet several eligibility requirements. Because these benefits are meant as a temporary aid following a layoff or other kinds of job loss, you must:

  • Be able to work
  • Be actively searching for a new job
  • Have lost your previous job through no fault of your own
  • Have worked in the state of Maryland

To meet Maryland unemployment eligibility requirements, uou must also meet wage requirements for a certain period of time — also called a base period. In Maryland, your base period is the last four of five quarters that you worked, and you must have earned a minimum amount to be eligible. Maryland requires you to:

  • Have earned at least $1,176 in wages in one quarter prior to losing your previous job
  • The total for your entire base period must equal at least 1.5 times the earnings of your highest paid quarter — at least $1,764

If you meet all of these requirements, you likely qualify for unemployment insurance in Maryland. Though, you should know that some special circumstances could lead your application being rejected. Some examples of common rejection reasons include:

  • The type of work you did
  • Your previous employer chooses to contest your application
  • Your reason for being out of work does not meet Maryland unemployment qualifications

Understanding qualifying reasons for unemployment

Maryland requires every person seeking unemployment benefits to have lost their job through no fault of their own. But what does that really mean?

In most cases, becoming unemployed by “no fault of your own” means that you lost your job because of factors not related to your job performance. Some common “no fault” reasons include:

  • You were laid off, either temporarily or permanently
  • Your previous employer made unreasonable changes to your work duties or conditions that you were no longer able to meet
  • Your employer fired you because you were a poor fit for the job or lacked the important or necessary skills to do the work you were hired for

Are you unsure of being “at fault” for your firing? You may not qualify for unemployment benefits if you lost your job because of workplace behaviors, attitudes or other issues. An employer can contest your application for unemployment benefits if you were fired for:

  • Failure to follow safety and workplace rules
  • Damaging employer property or theft
  • Lying on a job application
  • Repeatedly arriving late or having multiple unexcused absences
  • Failing a drug-screening test
  • Regularly not meeting reasonable workplace standards or benchmarks

If you believe that you were not at fault for losing your job, it’s likely that you can qualify for unemployment benefits. You should know that your previous employer will be contacted to verify your unemployment status, and that it’s not wise to lie or file for unemployment benefits if you were justly terminated (at fault for losing your job).

In most cases, if you were not at fault for losing your job, your application should move quickly through the process. Even if an employer does contest your unemployment application, Maryland offers an appeals process that allows you to state your case for benefits, showing evidence as to why you should receive unemployment insurance payments.

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How do I file for Maryland unemployment?

You can apply for Maryland unemployment benefits online or over the phone, depending on what is most comfortable for you. Before starting the process, be sure to gather all the information you’ll need to file for unemployment (listed below).

It’s important that you file for unemployment benefits as soon as you lose your job, because the state does not provide any backpayments, meaning that you’ll only receive financial assistance for the time after your application has been approved.

Applying online:  Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation allows you to apply for benefits online through its website, http://www.mdunemployment.com (also called Webcert). The online application walks you through the process, and you can log in to check the status of your application while it is processing.

Applying over the phone: Choosing to apply through the Maryland unemployment phone number (also called Telecert) can help if you would like someone to walk you through the process, or if you want to speak with an unemployment representative. Unemployment Claim Centers operate Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. ET to 2 p.m. ET, excluding state holidays. The Maryland unemployment number you call will depend on where you live.

If You Live InYour Claim Center IsCall This Number
Calvert CountyCharles CountyMontgomery CountyPrince Georges CountySt. Mary's CountyCollege Park Claim Center301-313-8000 or1-877-293-4125
Allegany CountyFrederick CountyGarrett CountyWashington CountyCumberland Claim Center301-723-2000 or1-877-293-4125
Caroline CountyDorchester CountyKent CountyQueen Anne's CountySomerset CountyTalbot CountyWicomico CountyWorcester CountySalisbury Claim Center410-334-6800 or1-877-293-4125
Anne Arundel CountyBaltimore CityBaltimore CountyCarroll CountyCecil CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyTowson Claim Center            

410-853-1600 or1-877-293-4125

After filing over the phone, you may want to check your application status. You can do so by calling the Claimant Information Service hotline. This number can also be used to file your Maryland weekly claim certification (proof that you are looking for work) to receive payments.

  • Baltimore-area or out-of-state callers: (410) 949-0022
  • Maryland, outside of Baltimore: 1-800-827-4839

Out-of-state filers: If you live outside of Maryland, but work in the state and have become unemployed, you may qualify for Maryland’s unemployment benefits. Though, you should know that the process for collecting unemployment payments when you are not a Maryland resident is slightly different. Instead of filing through Maryland’s online or telephone process, you will need to visit an unemployment assistance center in your home state. From there, a representative will help you through the process of claiming benefits.

If you are an out-of-state filer, you should know that you cannot draw unemployment benefits from more than one state at a time; in fact, doing so is illegal. If you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits in both states, you can choose which to start with, and after receiving all possible benefits, can then file and start unemployment benefits in the second state.

How to Continue Receiving Unemployment Benefits - Our Guide

What you need to file a Maryland unemployment claim

Before you begin the process, take a few moments to draw up the information you’ll need to file your claim. Having everything together before you begin will save you time. To file an unemployment claim in Maryland, you will need:

  • Your full name
  • Your full address and telephone number
  • Your Social Security number
  • Information about your last job, including your employer’s name, address, telephone number
  • The reason why you are unemployed
  • Filers with children: If you would like to claim dependents for additional benefits, you will need the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of all children in your care
  • Non-citizens: Proof of your non-resident status
  • Federal government employees: Your Form-50 or SF-8
  • Former military: If you were in the military in the last 18 months, you will need your DD214, Member 4

Having all this information on hand, and going through the process, can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. To learn more about filing a claim and what to do after becoming unemployed, you can read our guide on the unemployment application process. 

How much money will I receive, and when?

In most cases, it’s difficult to determine exactly how much money you’ll receive. Payments are determined on a case-by-case basis determined by how much money you made at your previous job (also called your base period wages) and other factors, such as having dependent children.

After filing for unemployment benefits, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation will contact you with a “Determination of Monetary Eligibility.” This information, mailed three days after you file for benefits, will show your base period wages and the how much money you are eligible to receive if your claim is approved. After approval, you’ll receive your weekly payment in the form of a prepaid debit card — this is the only way the state sends out benefits.

Maryland unemployment compensation offers a maximum weekly payout of $430. If you qualify for and receive benefits for the full 26 weeks, this maximum amount could reach $11,180. Though, you should remember that each worker is entitled to a different amount based on their prior wages, if they have dependents, how quickly they receive a new job, and other factors. The minimum amount you can receive per week is $50. 

Maryland also provides additional funds for unemployed workers who have dependents. The state defines a dependent as a “son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, or legally adopted child under 16 years of age.” This does not include foster children or grandchildren, and you must be supporting the child.

When claiming children, you will receive $8 per child, and can claim up to five children (a maximum total of $40 additional per week). You should know that state’s maximum payout of $430 includes dependent benefits, so if you already are receiving the maximum amount, you will not qualify for the extra money.

In Maryland, how long can I receive unemployment payments?

Maryland unemployment benefits are available for a maximum of 26 weeks per benefit year. Your benefit year is determined by when you first file and begin receiving unemployment benefits. For example, if you file in May 2017, you can only receive up to 26 weeks of payments through May 2018. After your benefit year has ended, it is possible to once again file and receive 26 additional weeks. In most cases, Maryland unemployment extensions are not permitted — only during times of exceptionally high Maryland unemployment rates will the state offer additional weeks, and you will be contacted if you qualify.

Check Your Eligibility

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I acknowledge and understand that by submitting this Contact Request form through clicking "Check Eligibility!", I provide my express consent to the following: (1) That I am bound by Eligibility.com LLC’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use; (2) That I am not required to submit this form, and thereby agree to all terms located herein, as a condition to receive any property, goods, or services that may be offered, and that I may revoke my consent at any time.

What should I do to keep receiving my weekly Maryland unemployment insurance?

Maryland unemployment benefits are meant to be a temporary safety net to help you with financial obligations (such as rent, mortgage payments, bills and living expenses) until you can secure a new job. For this reason, you will be required to show proof that you are searching for a new job, or what Maryland calls a Weekly Claim Certification. Failing to show proof means that you may miss payments or lose your benefits altogether. To show that you are making good faith efforts during your job search, you will be required to contact at least two potential employers each week.

To keep receiving your weekly Maryland unemployment insurance benefits, you will need to file your weekly claim certification online through Webcert or over the phone. To help you easily file this information, Maryland offers a free work search log helps you track and organize the necessary information to file your weekly claim certification, such as the prospective employer’s contact information, job application confirmation numbers, and more.

In some special circumstances, you may be exempt from the work search requirement. This applies if you are serving on a jury, a member of a work-sharing program, in an approved training agency, temporarily laid off (with a return date within 10 weeks of becoming unemployed), or a member of a union with restrictions on how you can get new work.

You must also enroll with the Maryland Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning (DWDAL). This program provides job search help and other services to help you during your unemployment. You are legally required to enroll in DWDAL within 10 days of applying for unemployment benefits, and can do so by visiting a career center near you or through the Maryland Workforce Exchange website. If you fail to enroll, your benefit payments may be delayed or your claim could be denied altogether.

If you are earning any money during your unemployment, through part-time work or any other means, such as severance, pension, or vacation pay, you are required to report this income. Failing to do so can lead to your benefits being revoked, and is considered fraud — which could be punished with up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.

Where can I find more information on unemployment help in Maryland?

Becoming unemployed is stressful, and figuring out how to manage the unemployment benefits process can add further strain. For further information or assistance on Maryland unemployment, contact:

Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

Website: https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/unemployment.shtml

Phone: (410) 949-0022 or 1-800-827-4839

WEBCERT (For filing your claim online)

Find Maryland unemployment office locations here

Unemployment insurance terminology to know

Base period: The first four out of five calendar quarters that you were employed prior to losing your job. The money you earn during this time is used to determine if you qualify for unemployment benefits, and if so, how much money you should receive each week.

Benefit year: The 52 weeks that you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Your benefit year begins after you file for unemployment, and lasts for 52 weeks following that date. You are only able to claim 26 weeks of unemployment benefits during this time.

Out-of-state resident: Any individual who works in Maryland but lives in another state. You may qualify for Maryland unemployment benefits if you lose your Maryland-based job, even if you do not live in the state.

Telecert: Maryland’s unemployment phone line that allows you to file for unemployment or check in with your weekly claim certification to receive benefits.

Unemployment Insurance: Maryland’s alternative term for unemployment benefits. These two phrases are interchangeable.

Webcert: Maryland’s unemployment website that allows you to file for unemployment benefits or enter your weekly claim certification to receive unemployment benefits.

Weekly Claim Certification: The information you file showing you have made an effort towards securing a new job while unemployed. This information is a Maryland required for you to receive benefits.