ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — After a weekend of technical difficulties with the new Maryland unemployment application site, the Maryland Department of Labor is apologizing to Marylanders and says it has added new features to try to help with residents’ frustrations.
The BEACON One-Stop application launched at 7 a.m. Friday but saw multiple issues due to the volume of people trying to log on. Those issues continued off and on for most of the weekend, until Sunday night when the department claimed the site was back up, though many were still having issues.
“We were hopeful that our partnership with the vendor would provide rapid solutions. Instead, it has caused a series of challenges for applicants. The vendor’s platform could not sustain the volume of visitors to the site. This was not acceptable, and we are taking immediate actions to fix these problems,” the department said in a press release Monday.
The application will now be down nightly between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. until the problem is fixed to perform maintenance and resolve “any ongoing technical issues.”
Since the new one-stop application launched on Friday, there have been more than 179,000 accounts activated, more than 61,000 new claims filed and more than 138,000 weekly certifications submitted, according to the department.
To alleviate some frustrations as they work on the applications issues, the department is introducing a virtual waiting line where people can see how many people are ahead of them for site access and will get an estimated wait time that will be “constantly updated” and sign up to get an email about when the system is ready for them to access the platform.
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The department said they anticipate this will make the process go more smoothly.
A new gating system is also being put in place.
On Sundays and Mondays, only customers who are filing weekly claim certifications will be able to file. If someone is unable to do so on those specific days, they are not restricted from filing it on any other day.
On Tuesdays through Saturdays, customers can file new claims and do other activities.
The new website is supposed to be designed to make it easier for people to apply for unemployment insurance in the state.
For weeks, newly jobless Marylanders have reported issues with filing for unemployment insurance as the state said it was overwhelmed by the number of applicants.
The site is meant to allow anyone who’s eligible for benefits, including CARES Act benefits and those previously required to file by phone, to file online. It also allows the self-employed to file for unemployment.
Gov. Larry Hogan said before the site launched, they had 40,000 calls backing up into their call center.
The state released a step-by-step guide on how to file for unemployment. Click here to read that.