Enhanced unemployment payments end on July 3, 2021.

Governor Larry Hogan has announced Maryland will be opting out of the federal government’s enhanced pandemic federal unemployment benefit. The sudden announcement surprised officials and shocked residents currently receiving those payments.

The enhanced payments are part of a federal program authorized through the American Rescue Plan, providing an additional $300 per week on top of regular unemployment compensation. The payments were scheduled to run through September 6 and will now end on July 3, 2021.

Maryland joins more than 20 states in ending payments early, all on the premise of helping businesses fill jobs. In addition to enhanced payments, Maryland is also cutting off Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments, the program that paid unemployment compensation to freelancers and gig workers. Maryland had 15,182 new claims for unemployment for the week ending on May 29, 2021, with nearly 6,000 of those workers filing under the PUA program.

money in wallet

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

In a statement on his website, Governor Larry Hogan said he was motivated to make the changes encouraged by strong vaccination rates and an improving economy.

“While these federal programs provided important temporary relief, vaccines and jobs are now in good supply. And we have a critical problem where businesses across our state are trying to hire more people, but many are facing severe worker shortages. After 12 consecutive months of job growth, we look forward to getting more Marylanders back to work.”

Beginning on July 4, 2021, people still receiving unemployment payments will be required to look for jobs and complete three job search activities each week. The state is also working to restore one of the main barriers for people returning to the job market, childcare. As of June 1, 2021, 92 percent of Maryland’s child care centers have reopened. If you need help finding childcare, visit the Division of Early Childcare website and use the Locate child care service.

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