How to file for PUA benefits April 24

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Labor (Labor) released a statement Thursday regarding the implementation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). On April 24, Labor will launch the BEACON one-stop application for Marylanders to file claims for all benefit types including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program entirely online.

The PUA program is available for those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, sole proprietors, or have insufficient work history. These individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance (UI) and who cannot work due to COVID-19 are now eligible to apply for a maximum of 39 weeks of benefits, effective Jan. 27, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.

“If you were recently denied for regular unemployment insurance benefits, you should complete our new initial claim application, which will allow us to determine if you are eligible for PUA or another unemployment benefit program,” the statement said. “After submitting an online application, eligible PUA claimants will receive their benefits retroactive to their earliest date of eligibility.”

Here is how to file your PUA claim:
Visit MDunemployment.com and select “Apply for Unemployment Insurance Benefits” in the left hand column. This will take you to the BEACON one-stop application page.
The first time that you visit the application, you will need to activate your account by providing your social security number and choosing a Username and password. If you have previously applied for UI benefits in Maryland, you will need to have your UI application PIN available to validate your identity.
Once you have activated your account, you will be able to file your PUA claim.

To file a PUA claim, you will need to have the following information available, as applicable:
• Social security number;
• Date of birth;
• Alien registration number, if you are not a citizen;
• Residential and mailing address;
• Telephone number and email address;
• Name, date of birth, and social security number of all dependents under 16 years of age that you will claim, as well the same information for each dependent’s other parent, such as the social security number and date of birth for any dependents that you claim;
• If you worked for the federal government, you will also need a SF-8 or SF-50 form; and
• If you are separated from military service, you will also need Form DD-214, member 4 copy.
To file your PUA claim, you will need to provide information and supporting documentation about your work and income history, which may include the following:
• Documentation of the income that you earned in 2019 (Schedule K-1, Form 1099, or summary of quarterly payments);
• All necessary licenses and permits for your self-employment; and
• Proof of an offer to begin employment that was postponed or withdrawn due to COVID-19.

When you login to the BEACON Uniform application, you will be in your user portal, where you will be able to receive notices and alerts about your account, including notifications regarding any missing documentation. Additionally, you will be able to select your preferred method of communication, including e-mail, text message, or postal mail. All communications will be available in your portal no matter which preference you select, which will cut down on wait times for you to receive information about your claim.

After reviewing your application and supporting documentation, DUI will notify you of your eligibility through the portal and/or your preferred method of communication selected in the application. If eligible, you will need to visit the BEACON one-stop application every week to request the payment of benefits by filing a claim certification.

For more information about filing a weekly claim certification, please visit the department’s frequently asked questions. If you are denied or ineligible for benefits, you will receive instructions on how to protest or appeal the determination.

If you are determined to be eligible for unemployment benefits, you will also automatically receive an additional $600 per week from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. The FPUC program applies to benefit payments from March 29 to July 25. Payment of the $600 will be retroactive to the earliest date of your eligibility within that time period. For additional information, visit our website at MDunemployment.com.