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Jobless Marylanders brace for end of federal unemployment benefits

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Sandra Lynne hears from lots of Marylanders looking for help using the state’s unemployment system.

She hears their complaints, criticisms and worries through a Facebook page she created called Maryland Unemployment Coach.

Lately, the impending end of federal unemployment benefits has been a main topic of concern.

Until recently, Marylanders thought the federal supplements to regular unemployment, created as the economy crumbled early in the COVID-19 pandemic, would run out at the start of September.

“People were already stressing about the fact that we knew we were running out of money at the end of August,” said Lynne, who started her Facebook page to help Marylanders navigate the byzantine unemployment process she’s had to use several times over her career.

Jahmilla Fisher, 25, of Germantown, makes a poster for a small protest in Annapolis on June 9.

Now, she’s hearing from still-jobless residents who are worried about losing unemployment benefits even earlier: Gov. Larry Hogan announced last week that Maryland will join 24 other states in opting out of the remaining federal unemployment supplements on July 3.

That means no more $300 per week on top of Maryland’s regular unemployment benefits, which are capped at $430 per week. It also means no more help for self-employed workers who typically wouldn’t be eligible for unemployment, but who got help under pandemic emergency programs designed to help them stay afloat.

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Source: GANNETT Syndication Service