Maryland Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Must Continue for Now, Judge

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A state judge on Thursday blocked Maryland officials’ move to cut federal pandemic unemployment benefits two months before they expire.

Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill of the Baltimore City Circuit Court granted an injunction in a case that appealed to Republican Governor Larry Hogan’s decision. cut benefits Effective July 3, the Judge ordered the state to “immediately take all necessary measures to ensure that residents of Maryland continue to receive extended and/or additional unemployment benefits.”

The Maryland Department of Labor did not respond to a request for comment on whether it would appeal the injunction, which will remain in effect until the lawsuit is filed.

More than two dozen states, all but one led by Republican governors, have moved to cut some or all federal benefits, saying they are discouraging people from seeking employment at a time when some businesses are struggling to find staff as the pandemic wanes. . State-administered benefits include a $300 weekly supplement to other unemployment benefits. They are funded by the federal government until September 6.

Legal challenges to early termination of benefits have been raised in at least five states. In Indiana, the state appeals court ordered officials Monday to continue paying federal unemployment benefits.

Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, a progressive think tank, said the cases had essentially appealed to “the carpet being pulled from unemployed workers who were promised something” until September, and received a positive hearing from judges. “This is a national economic policy,” he said, “but it will be implemented on a state basis.”

Oklahoma It is the latest state to face a lawsuit seeking to force it to maintain benefits. A Tulsa woman sued Wednesday, saying she couldn’t afford to pay without additional federal benefits after losing her job.

Lawsuits in Ohio and Texas continue.

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