BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Over the past few weeks, more than 300,000 Marylanders have filed for unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But for those who are self-employed, the process has proven to be difficult.

Jessica Durden is a professional makeup artist and certified eyelash technician. She started her business, JessieD Creations, five years ago.

It’s a business that has been deemed non-essential during the COVID 19 pandemic.

“For about a month now, I have not received any income,” Durden said. “I have not been able to work.”

The single mother relies on her business to support her, and her daughter. She said she applied for grants and loans, but keeps running into roadblocks.

“I have applied just hoping that I would still at least be able to receive some sort of aid,” she said. “But one application they’re asking for an unemployment insurance number which I don’t have because I don’t have employees.”


Initially, she wouldn’t have been eligible for unemployment benefits, but the CARES Act has expanded coverage. The problem is, the State’s system is not currently set up to process CARES act claims. On top of that, her stimulus check has yet to arrive.

“It just seems like a lot of running in circles, a lot of misinformation, a lot of inaccurate information and it’s frustrating,” she said.

The Maryland Department of Labor is asking for patients as they work through this problem.

In just one week, the Department of Labor has received over 42,000 new unemployment insurance claims.

“I can see how they are working very, very hard to rectify this issue,” Durden said. “However, I feel as though they should’ve been at the forefront. They should have been more proactive as opposed to reactive.”

Durden said she has been able to lean on her family and friends during these difficult times.

The Maryland Department of Labor recently announced a new, one-stop application that can handle the new claims will be available on Friday.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Sean Streicher

  1. Tom says:

    Patience not patients…

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