MD Unemployment Website Back Online After Technical Issues

Michael O'Connell

MARYLAND — After being down Sunday afternoon, the Maryland Department of Labor's BEACON One-Stop unemployment application was operating again around 7 p.m. Sunday but with no guarantee it won't crash again as it did after Friday's launch. Technical issues prompted experts to take the site offline as thousands of Marylanders apply for financial relief due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sunday evening the labor department tweeted: "After taking the application down for maintenance this afternoon, the BEACON One-Stop application is back online, but is operating at slower speeds. Unfortunately, our vendor cannot guarantee that additional technical difficulties will not arise."

Maryland residents are fed up with the ongoing outages.

On April 23 one resident tweeted at Gov. Larry Hogan, "HELP! Bills for May are due next Friday, I have filed 5 weeks worth of #mdunemployment claims and not gotten those funds. Called, emailed, no response. Please do something!"

Sunday's technical difficulties are the latest the BEACON One-Stop application system has experienced in the past few days. Shortly after it launched at 7 a.m. on Friday, the system was quickly overwhelmed with applications.

During a Friday afternoon press briefing about his plans for reopening the state, Maryland Gov. Hogan said he was “very frustrated that the vendor did not have it ready for the volume” of applications.

He told reporters the vendor would be held accountable for the down time and failure to deliver.

Another resident vented on Twitter: "@MD_Labor, so you ever gonna let people file unemployment again? Why do this during a pandemic.. stupid. #mdunemployment."

DoL posted the following message on its website Sunday morning:

"We are currently experiencing technical issues with the online BEACON application and have a team of professionals working hard to quickly resolve them. In order to perform this necessary maintenance, our vendor must take the application down for a period of time. We expect to have the application back up early this afternoon. All progress in your application should be retained. When you log into the application again, you may need to cycle through the question pages to return to your place. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause."

DoL reported on official Twitter account Friday that after technical problems functionality was restored that morning. As of 5:15 p.m. on Friday, more than 44,000 BEACON One-Stop accounts had been activated and over 19,000 new claims had been processed, with 150,000 users accessing the application.

Once BEACON One-Stop is up and running, Marylanders who are eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program can submit an application by visiting MDunemployment.com.

COVID-19 EMPLOYER AND CLAIMANT INFORMATION

No matter when or how they file, Marylanders become eligible for benefits starting after the day after they separated from employment. If you are eligible, you will be paid for all benefits due.

Removing Deadlines for Additional Claim Information and Documentation

Due to the high claim volume caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Division of Unemployment Insurance is removing ALL deadlines for claimants to provide additional information or deliver supporting documentation. Please note that your claim will NOT be negatively impacted by your inability to meet any deadline date printed on a correspondence that you receive via mail.

File Your Missing Weekly Claim Certification(s) Online

We have implemented a new solution and updated our systems to allow you to file ALL the weekly claim certifications you have been unable to file since filing your initial claim. Starting April 9, you will be able to file ONLINE for each of those missing week(s). Remember, each missing week must be filed one business day at a time. For detailed instructions and FAQs, visit the File Your Missing Weekly Claim Certification(s) Online page.

Updated Process for Filing A Regular Claim

To provide our claimants with an efficient and hassle-free filing process, we are encouraging our claimants to file according to a new system.

To file an initial regular unemployment claim online or through our call centers, please file your claim according to your last name as detailed below:

  • If your last name starts with A - F, file your claim on Monday.
  • If your last name starts with G - N, file your claim on Tuesday.
  • If your last name starts with O - Z, file your claim on Wednesday.
  • Claim filing is open to all last names by phone on Thursday and Friday and online Thursday through Sunday.
  • Filing later in the week will not delay your payments or affect the date of your claim.

Important Contact Information and Links
We strongly encourage you to utilize our online NetClaims application to file your claim. This online application is available 24/7, but we are strongly encouraging Marylanders to file during non-peak hours, like early in the morning and late in the evening (8:00 p.m. - 7:00 a.m.), for faster processing speeds.

The hours of our Claims Centers have been further extended and are now open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Starting Saturday, April 18, our Claims Centers will also be open on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. To contact a Claim Center, call 410-949-0022.

If you are having difficulty placing a call or accessing our website, claimants can e-mail questions to ui.inquiry@maryland.gov. Claims may only be filed by phone or online; claims cannot be filed by e-mail.

This article originally appeared on the Bowie Patch