Unemployment Insurance Benefits - 2. Applying
If you are unemployed, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits in Maryland. The Maryland Department of Labor's (DOL) Division of Unemployment Insurance handles the Unemployment Insurance program. There are four articles in this series with information on eligibility, applying, appealing a denial, and other resources. This article deals with completing the application for benefits.
Step 1: Registering a New Account
Create a new online claimant account at the Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance BEACON System.
You will establish a username and password, provide other basic information, and set up security questions.
After creating your account, you will be asked to provide the effective date for your benefit claim. The effective date is the first day of the calendar week that the claimant files for benefits.
Step 2: Completing Claimant Registration
- Provide physical and mailing addresses and demographic information
- Answer initial screening questions about your recent employment such as whether you were employed in Maryland or elsewhere, or whether you were employed as a military member on active duty
- Answer whether you’ve filed an unemployment claim in another state and whether your employment was impacted by COVID-19
Step 3: Payment Method and Tax Withholding
- Select to receive unemployment insurance benefits via either a debit card issued by Bank of America or paper checks
- A debit card is usually received by mail within 10 business days of initial approval of a UI claim
- The card can be used to make purchases and withdraw cash, and funds can be transferred to a personal bank account
- Instructions on use and access accompany the card
- Complete the disclosure agreement under the “Disclosure” link
- Unemployment insurance benefits count as taxable income under both federal and state law. Beneficiaries must therefore select from the following withholding options:
- Withhold both federal and state income tax;
- Withhold just federal income tax;
- Withhold just Maryland state income tax; or
- Elect no withholdings
Step 4: Work Information
- Enter whether you are union member currently seeking work exclusively through a union hiring hall or business agent
- Enter your occupation into the text field provided; The automated system will then run a query that will generate job descriptions results; select the description that best reflects your occupation
- Enter employment start and end dates for all periods of employment during the past 18 months and the reason for each employment separation
Step 5: Eligibility
- You will be asked a series of eligibility questions to determine if you are eligible to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits
- If you are an independent contractor or are self-employed, you will be asked an additional series of eligibility questions
Step 6: Income Tax Forms
- If you are filing as an independent contractor or as someone who is self-employed, you will be asked a series of questions regarding your tax filings
- You will have the opportunity to upload certain tax documents to verify income
Step 7: Determination by Agency
The Department of Labor will make an eligibility determination based on:
- A Monetary Determination, which informs whether a claimant is eligible based on earnings history and, if eligible, the claimant’s weekly benefit amount
- A Non-monetary Determination, which informs whether a claimant is eligible based on non-monetary factors such as:
- The reason for the claimant’s separation from employment; and
- The claimant’s availability for work
This article series was produced by the Economic & Food Security Committee of the Maryland Attorney General's Covid-19 Access to Justice Taskforce.