BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thousands of Marylanders are still waiting for unemployment checks and the company assisting the state is working overtime to make it happen. But, the labor shortage is taking its toll on these state agencies.

”I anticipate more progress to be made in the coming weeks. I want to answer every call, every day of the week. They are still answering the phone seven days of the week, by the way, my staff is working overtime seven days a week,” said Tiffany Robinson, Secretary for the Maryland Department of Labor.

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For the next six months, the state will continue working with Alorica. They have processed 844,000 claims, about 97.9 percent, but the 2.1 percent that remains represent thousands of Maryland families.

The Unemployed Workers Union held a rally Monday expressing their frustration about the backlog. One man said his account is put on hold every few months.

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Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot is begging the Dept of Labor to figure this out soon. “Try to deliver as much as you can, because there is a lot of suffering out there,” Franchot said.

Alorica hopes to hire an additional 675 employees. They said they have struggled to employ half of that with only 250 employees currently.

“I hope you know we are doing the best we can and we absolutely will get the benefits to every Marylander who deserves them,” Robinson added.

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Fraud remains a national problem. The FBI continues to search through legitimate unemployment claims.

Rachael Cardin