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Unemployment Benefits Eligibility
General Benefits Eligibility Criteria
As mentioned above, qualifying for Maryland unemployment isn't as simple as having an employer who paid unemployment insurance taxes. It requires meeting Maryland unemployment benefits eligibility criteria that are designed to gauge whether or not you worked at a job long enough and made enough money to qualify.
Typically, these criteria are designed to be easy to understand and implement to avoid any confusion. However, if the following information still leaves you confused, the best way to know if you qualify for unemployment benefits is through filing.
Work Eligibility Criteria
The work eligibility criteria in Maryland are simple. They require that you work a 12 to 18-month period with employers that pay unemployment taxes. The “base period” upon which your eligibility will be decided is the first four quarters of the last five calendar quarters.
A quarter is a three month period (such as January through March) and you must have earned money in two of those quarters to pass this criteria.
If you do not meet this criteria, you can request the alternative base period, which is the most recently completed four quarters of wages. This alternative base period must be requested by calling an unemployment office.
EXAMPLE: A standard base period for a worker who lost their job in July 2016 would be April 2015 to March 2016. The alternative base period would be July 2015 to June 2016.
Wages Eligibility Criteria
As mentioned above, you must have earned wages in two quarters in the standard or alternative base period. You must have made a minimum of $1,800 in those two quarters to qualify for the minimum Weekly Benefit Amount of $50.
That's a minimum of $900 per quarter, $300 per month, and $75 per week. The more you earned during this period, the more you will be paid in unemployment benefits. However, your benefits will be maxed out at a specific amount, which will be discussed later.
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Unemployment Availability Limits
Maryland unemployment benefits can last up to 26 weeks before they are discontinued. During this time, you must be searching for suitable employment with an employer who pays a wage similar to the one of the job you lost.
You will lose your unemployment benefits the moment you receive a full-time job, regardless of how many weeks are left in your benefit term. Other disqualifying situations include:
- Failure to seek suitable work
- Turning down suitable work
- Fraudulently reporting your weekly claims
- Misreporting your wages in a part-time job
You can have a part-time job and still receive benefits, but your benefits will be decreased. The first $50 of your gross wages in a week will not affect your Weekly Benefit Amount. All money earned in excess of $50 per week will be decreased on a dollar-by-dollar basis.
EXAMPLE: If you receive $300 in unemployment benefits and earn $100 in a week, you could subtract $50 from $300 to receive a $250 Weekly Benefit Amount.
Maryland was one of the many states in the country that received emergency unemployment relief from the federal government after the 2008 economic recession. This program extended benefits an extra 20 weeks.
These provisions lasted until January 2014, but were discontinued when the economy had suitably recovered. No state-based program has taken its place.