Comptroller's Workgroup onPandemic SpendingMaryland Department of LaborDeputy SecretaryDavid

Unemployment Claim Volumeby the Numbers2

Since the Beginning of COVID-193 Received over 2,827,634 new claims Paid over 13 BILLION in state and federal benefits Over 28.3 MILLION weekly claim certifications filed and over 24.2 MILLION certifications paid Adjudicated over 3.9 MILLION claim issues Implemented TEN brand new federal unemployment insurance programs in 2020 and 2021 Added 2,168 new unemployment insurance employees (1,776 call center, 292 adjudicators, andover 100 state staff) Virtual agent conducted over 4.6 MILLION conversations Averted nearly 6,000 layoffs averted through the Work Sharing Program and over 21,000 jobssaved through the Layoff Aversion Fund.

Unprecedented Volume of Claims In 2019, we received 171,429 new claims. In 2020, we received over 1.4 million newclaims filed from March to December - anincrease of 814.2%. There were several times in 2020 that wereceived over 100,000 new claims in oneweek. During the Great Recession, we received apeak of 6,000 claims in one week. As of the week ending July 17, over2,827,634 new UI claims have been filed.4

2021 New Claims 5Since the beginning of 2021, we have already received over 547,638 new claims (excluding fraud).Weekly new claim data broken down by county and program is available on our website and thedata is updated every Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m.10,066 new claims as of week ending July 17:– Regular UI - 5,498 - PUA - 4,120 - PEUC - 448

Current Unemployment StatisticsProcessing as of Week Ending July 17 6Total Benefits Paid - 13,187,190,098Complete Claims Filed - 826,452Processed - 805,130 (97.4%) claims– Paid - 678,660 (82.1%) claims– Denied - 126,470 (15.3%) claimsPending - 21,322 (2.6%)– Nearly all of the pending claims aredisputed and pending furtherinvestigation. These claims cannot beprocessed until they are investigateddue to conflicting information providedby the claimant and the claimant’sprevious employer.

State and Federal Benefits Paidto Claimants7

Rampant NationwideUnemployment Fraud8

Fraudulent Unemployment ClaimsNationwide Issue With the additional federal benefits available,states across the country have seen a spikein fraudsters targeting their UI programs. With aggressive and heightened securitymeasures in place within the BEACONsystem, the department continues toinvestigate potentially fraudulent in-state andout-of-state claims. 9Over 92% of claims flagged andinvestigated have been confirmed asfraudulent, so it is critical that the departmentreviews and verifies identity verificationdocumentation submitted by claimants.Claim Review as of July 20 Out-of-state Claims– Claims Flagged: 348,671– Fraudulent: 326,271 (93.58%)– Approved: 19,413 (5.57%)– Pending Review: 2,987 (0.86%) In-State (MD Only) Claims– Claims Flagged: 1,230,712– Fraudulent: 1,128,229 (91.67%)– Approved: 85,486 (6.95%)– Pending Review: 16,997 (1.38%) Total Claims Pending Review: 19,984 (1.27%)Total Claims Flagged: 1,579,383Total Claims Fraudulent: 1,454,500 (92.09%)Total Out-of-State and In-State ClaimsApproved After Review: 104,899 (6.64%)

Fraudulent Unemployment Claims10

Review of FraudulentUnemployment ID’sIf a claimant is flagged as being potentially fraudulent, they are prompted to upload photos (not scans) of twodifferent types of identity verification documentation in their BEACON portal that shows all four corners.Fraudsters are quite brazen in the documents they upload, requiring the manual review of documents tomaintain the integrity of the program. We have recently partnered with LexisNexis to automate the process.This license uses a celebrity photo (Chris Hemsworth)from name and signature on the social security card arecompletely different.11

Reporting Unemployment Fraud Marylanders Fraudulent Claim If you believe that your information has been used to fraudulently file an unemploymentinsurance claim, please contact UI’s Benefit Payment Control Unit by completing a “Requestfor Investigation of Unemployment Insurance Fraud” form and emailing it [email protected] Not a Claimant but Received a 1099-G Tax Form If you received a 1099-G tax form, but did not apply for unemployment insurance benefits inMaryland in 2020, then please complete an Affidavit Form and submit it along with picture IDto the Benefit Payment Control Unit by emailing [email protected] Bank of America Debit Card Fraud If you are a claimant and believe funds have been fraudulently withdrawn from your Bank ofAmerica unemployment insurance debit card, please contact Bank of America directly bycalling 1-855-847-2029. Employers If an employer believes a fraudulent claim has been charged to their account, they shouldimmediately file a benefit charge protest through their BEACON employer portal or contact theEmployer Call Center by calling 410-949-0033.12

Avoiding UnemploymentFraud and Scams To distinguish between a legitimate claims agent and a fraudster, please note that staff from theDivision of Unemployment Insurance will: Never request or require payment for assistance with unemployment insurance, especially notthrough apps like Venmo or Cashapp. Not provide assistance to claimants through direct message on social media platforms likeFacebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Never arrange for an adjudication or fact-finding interview over any teleconferencing platform,such as Zoom, BlueJeans, Google Hangout Meets, or Skype. Not provide assistance through text message and will not send any links asking a claimant toverify their account through text. Ask for a claimant’s bank account number or credit card number over email. Request a claimant’s BEACON password over email. All emails from legitimate unemployment staff will come from a email address.Claimants should NOT provide any sensitive information related to their Maryland unemploymentinsurance claim by email unless it is to a email address.13

Avoiding Unemployment Fraud onSocial Media Over 49 Fraudulent Facebook Pages Created Attempting to Scam Claimants Scammers are replicating labor department social media pages, directly messaging claimants, andattempting to steal their identity by asking for their personal information. Recognizing this is a nationwide issue, the U.S. Department of Labor is working with law enforcementand Facebook to immediately shut down fraudulent accounts. Maryland has reported over 49 fraudulent Facebook pages since January of 2021. How to Identity Fraudulent Pages Fraudulent pages may look similar, but are newly created, do not have a lengthy history of posts,spelled differently (often with typos), and not verified with a blue check mark. “Maryland Department of Labourr” is an example of a fraudulent page that looks similar, but is spelleddifferently. Fraudulent pages should be immediately reported to the social media platform.14

Fraudulent Text ScamsThe department has alerted Marylanders to numerous text message phishing scams. Thesetext messages contain links that take an individual to a fraudulent website created byscammers in an attempt to steal a customer’s identity and private information. We havefrequently warned Marylanders about these scams on social media and our website.15

Unemployment Staffing andContracts16

Staffing Changes to HandleIncreased Claim Volume Staffing Prior to Pandemic Prior to this crisis, the State was experiencing record unemployment lows. Given the federal funding model, this meant our program was funded and staffed at lowerthan normal levels. Partnered with Vendors to Quickly Increase Staffing Accenture Hired 1,776 call center agents Contract is for 160M for 4/15/2020-12/31/2021 Alorica Hired 292 adjudicators Contract is for 70M for 11/10/2020-11/9/2021 Hiring Additional State Staff Hired over 100 new state employees and reassigned current state employees to our callcenters. There are hundreds of additional UI employees conducting operations essentialto the program every day.17

Call Center Statistics18

Call Center Statistics Over 6.7 Million Conversations with ClaimantsDuring COVID-19 Phone Calls – 1,860,650 Chats – 252,755 Virtual Agent – 4,625,841 Total Conversations – 6,739,246 Average Call Time The average call handle time is 0:18:35minutes. This call duration time has stayed relativelyconsistent throughout the pandemic. Average Queue Answer Time The average queue answer time is 0:17:53from April 2020 through July 2021. The average queue answer time has beensubstantially reduced to an average of0:04:09 as of July 2021. Repeat Callers Repeat callers use apps to auto dial andthis will jam the phone lines and preventunique callers from getting into the queue. For example on 7/12, we had over 96,000repeat callers versus 25,000 unique callers.19

Additional CommunicationMethods Online Inquiry Form The online inquiry form, located at, is available for claimants, employers,and third party agents. The form collects all necessary information, routes it to the appropriate unit upon submission, and atracking number is sent via email. Houses all inquiries in one place and prevents duplicative efforts by department staff. Claimant Call Center with Expanded Hours To connect a live agent, claimants should call 667-207-6520. Live claims agents are available from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. They are also available from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturday and 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. onSunday. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System for Claimants To connect with the IVR system available 24/7, call 410-949-0022 or 1-800-827-4839, toll free. Employer Call Center To connect with a live agent, employers should call 410-949-0033.20

Online ResourcesBEACON 2.0 Claimant PortalEmployer PortalThird Party Agent PortalBEACON Claimant User GuideBEACON Glossary of TermsDownload Mobile App in iOS App StoreDownload Mobile App on Google PlayLive and Virtual Agents 21Available on our website to help claimantsanswer common questions aboutunemployment insurance and guide them toof our informative resources and tools.

Other Contracts Transition to New Payment Benefit Methods Through Wells Fargo The department transitioned from paying claimants through Bank of America debitcards to direct deposit or paper check because of a new contract that the StateTreasurer’s Office has with Wells Fargo. The department opened new accounts with Wells Fargo in February 2021 andlaunched the new benefit payment methods in May 2021. Direct deposit is a faster, safer, and more convenient way of receiving benefitpayments. Resources from the CASH Campaign of MD were provided to claimants to help themopen an account with a bank or credit union if they did not already have one. LexisNexis Contract is for 3.6M for 5/19/21-5/18/22 Selected through a competitive procurement process to provide identity verification andfraud detection services.22

Workforce DevelopmentPrograms and Grants23

COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund Quickly Provided Customizable Financial Assistance The COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund enabled the state to quickly provide crucial financialassistance to help Maryland small businesses avoid layoffs and closures. Saved 21,555 jobs and supported 1,267 small businesses located in all 24 jurisdictions throughtwo rounds of funding, totaling over 31 million First Round Funding - March 2020 Awarded over 10 million in grants to 445 small businesses and saved 8,819 jobs. Second Round Funding - October 2020 Awarded over 21 million in grants to support 822 small businesses and save 12,736 jobs. Flexible Funding Provided Purchasing remote access equipment and software to promote teleworking Assisting with employee training and education Purchasing cleaning supplies and services to maintain an onsite workforce Taking advantage of Labor’s Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program bysupplementing employee income24

Distribution of COVID-19 LayoffAversion Funds25

Additional Workforce ProgramsRegistered Apprenticeship - Registered apprenticeships are expanding opportunities for jobseekers by connecting them withhigh-wage jobs in traditional and non-traditional industries while supporting the workforce needs oflocal businesses.Maryland surpassed a record-breaking 11,000 registered apprentices in 2020.Youth Apprenticeship - The Apprenticeship Maryland Program gives high school juniors and seniors a head start on theirfuture career by earning a wage and learning valuable job skills through an apprenticeship.20 out of the 24 county/city public school systems are successfully participating in the program.American Job Centers - Maryland has 32 American Job Centers with workforce professionals available to provide a fullrange of in-person and services to both jobseekers and businesses.Since March 2020, over 49,000 claimants have completed the department's reemploymentworkshop (RESEA).26

Additional Workforce ProgramsMaryland Workforce Exchange - MWE offers job seekers the ability to easily apply for jobs, create resumes, explore career fields, findeducation and training opportunities, connect with an American Job Center, and more.Over 250,000 jobs are available.EARN Maryland - EARN Maryland training offers job seekers an opportunity to develop new skills and train forcareers in in-demand industry sectors, like biotechnology, manufacturing, and cyber security.Since the program’s inception, more than 5,300 unemployed and underemployed individuals have obtainedemployment, and over 8,500 incumbent workers have received training.Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program - The state’s Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program is a flexible reopening strategy whereemployees can work at reduced hours while collecting partial unemployment benefits to make up aportion of the lost wages.Since the beginning of March 2020, 549 work sharing plans have been implemented in Maryland for 367employers. These work sharing plans have averted the layoffs of an estimated 6,117 Maryland workers.27

Additional Workforce ProgramsJob Fairs - Labor is virtually connecting unemployed Marylanders with employers looking to fill positions invarious industries and locations across the state.Veterans Services - l The State's American Job Centers offer a variety of services to assist veterans, transitioning militarypersonnel, and other qualified individuals, including Veterans who face barriers to employment.Priority of service is given to veterans and their eligible spouses who meet certain eligibilityrequirements.Maryland Re-Entry Initiative - The State-Wide Maryland Re-Entry Initiative is designed to assist returning citizens by increasingtheir employability and providing equal opportunity and access to employment resources, such asFederal Bonding.28

Workforce Development Grantsand FundingOver the past year, the Maryland Department of Labor has received over 130 million in workforcedevelopment grants and funding to help reskill workers and provide other services to ensure customersfind meaningful employment. 75,000,000 - American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated by Governor Hogan and the GeneralAssembly to expand apprenticeship and employment training programs. 37,198,844 - Program Year 2021 WIOA Title I Funding to provide services for qualifying adults,dislocated workers, and youth. 8,000,000 - Supporting the EARN initiative, which helps fund over 60 statewide industrypartnerships and provides comprehensive training in preparation for careers in in-demandindustries including Cybersecurity/IT, healthcare, construction, manufacturing, andtransportation/logistics. 7,000,000 - RELIEF Act Funding to support the State’s 13 local workforce development boards inengaging, upskilling, and connecting Maryland residents with employment. 2,881,060 - COVID-19 Dislocated Worker grant which prepares eligible individuals for employmentas Maryland’s economy reopens.29

Additional Resources forClaimants30

Frequently Asked QuestionsThere are 14 different FAQ’s available for both claimants and employers on our website: 31Appeals - Lower AppealsAppeals - Board of AppealsBEACON 2.0Benefit Payment and Bank of America Debit Card InformationClaims Filing - Initial ClaimsClaims Filing - Weekly Claims CertificationsCoronavirus (COVID-19) Related IssuesDenials and PaymentsDirect Deposit of Benefit PaymentsEligibility RequirementsOverpayments and FraudWork SearchWork Sharing Information for EmployeesForeign Language Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Archive

Claimant Video TutorialsThere are 15 video tutorials available to help claimants navigate their BEACON portal: 32Introduction to BEACONAccount Activation and LoginAccount RegistrationAccount MaintenanceAccount NavigationOverview of Claimant PortalUpdating Benefit Payment Information and Income Tax WithholdingFiling Weekly Claim CertificationFiling an AppealApplying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)Applying for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)Filing a Weekly Claim Certification for a PUA ClaimViewing and Completing an Action ItemViewing CorrespondenceViewing Messages

Employer and Third Party AgentVideo TutorialsThere are 15 video tutorials available to help employers and third party agents navigate theirBEACON portal:Employers 33Employer Account ActivationEmployer RegistrationEmployer Portal NavigationEmployer Account MaintenanceEmployer Wage UploadEmployer Amend Submitted WageReportEmployer Payment SubmissionEmployer Agent AuthorizationEmployer File an AppealThird Party Agents Third Party Account ActivationThird Party Account RegistrationThird Party Account MaintenanceThird Party Account NavigationThird Party Wage UploadThird Party Payment Submission

BEACON 2.0 Claimant Portal Employer Portal Third Party Agent Portal BEACON Claimant User Guide BEACON Glossary of Terms Download Mobile App in iOS App Store Download Mobile App on Google Play Live and Virtual Agents Available on ou