ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday addressed the continued hurdles some Marylanders have had trying to get unemployment benefits, saying that while the state has processed more than 400,000 unemployment claims, the system is “still not helping everybody.”
At a news conference Wednesday evening, Hogan laid some of the blame for Maryland residents’ struggles to get benefits with the federal government, saying not all of the factors causing delays are under the state’s control.READ MORE: Gervonta Davis' Longtime Trainers Sit Down With Rick Ritter Ahead Of Staples Center Fight
“This problem of unemployment is the one that’s extremely difficult because so many people are really suffering,” Hogan said.
The governor said he’s frustrated that people aren’t able to immediately get the money they need, adding both the implementation of the new requirements and the application process for residents have been confusing.
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Hogan acknowledged the state’s implementation of its new one-stop online filing application was rocky but said most of the issues have since been resolved. He also added the state has hired 250 new people to process claims and added 450 additional phone lines for those trying to get help.
The technical issues alone weren’t the major issue, he said.READ MORE: Poinsettias, Trains Help H.P. Rawlings Conservancy Get 'Back On Track'
“They’ve changed guidelines at the federal level 12 times since the program came out a few weeks ago,” Hogan said, adding the federal requirement that people have to re-file each week has led to “tremendous difficulties.”
Of the hundreds of thousands of filers, more than 100,000 weren’t able to do so online and needed to talk to a person over the phone, he said. Others who were expecting to receive benefits may not qualify.
The unemployment woes have led some to call for change within state government; online petitions on change.org urging immediate fixes to the system and the resignation of labor department secretary Tiffany Robinson have each garnered more than 1,000 signatures.
A virtual state Senate hearing earlier this month also drew more than 1,000 Marylanders wishing to testify, but the number was later capped at 270.MORE NEWS: Essex Spreads Holiday Cheer With Christmas Tree Lighting