Extended unemployment payments will continue to be paid through September.
Unemployed workers in Maryland can breathe a sigh of relief after a court ruling on Tuesday. Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill granted an injunction on July 13 that prevents the Maryland Department of Labor from canceling extended unemployment benefits early.
In June, Governor Hogan announced he would end those two months ahead of the original expiration date of September 6. After Tuesday’s ruling, Governor Larry Hogan has decided not to continue to pursue the lawsuit and allow benefits to expire on the original date.
Governor Hogan is one of 26 governors in mostly Republican-led states that decided to end unemployment benefits early. Hogan claimed keeping the benefits in place was making it difficult for businesses to fill open positions. After Tuesday's ruling, Hogan said pursuing the case would be futile.
“ ... This lawsuit is hurting our small businesses, jeopardizing our economic recovery, and will cause significant job loss. Most states have already ended enhanced benefits, and the White House and the US Department of Labor have affirmed that states have every right to do so. While we firmly believe the law is on our side, adjudication of the case would extend beyond the end of the federal programs ...”
The injunction issued by Judge Fletcher-Hill not only continues the extra $300 payments but also keeps payments flowing for gig workers and unemployed workers who have run out of benefits. A class-action lawsuit on behalf of workers who are still owed payments from the Department of Labor will continue. Extended unemployment benefits provided by the federal government were part of the American Rescue Plan signed into law on March 11.
The bill also pays 100% of COBRA health insurance payments for unemployed workers and increases food stamp allocation through September 30.
How do you feel about the court's ruling and Governor Hogan's response? Share your thoughts in the comments.