BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Jean Capps is outraged about glitches in Maryland's BEACON unemployment system. She said she was unable to recertify her weekly claim like she usually does. Thousands of others are also posting their problems on social media.
"State government—they are responsible for this, and if they're telling you everything is ok, it's not ok," Capps told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. "There was no button saying reapply for benefits. There was nothing saying I needed to take any action."
She was particularly incensed by the Department of Labor's claims that there are no problems.
"I can tell you that what you were told is not true," Capps said.
Governor Larry Hogan acknowledged issues for the first time.
"The federal government, the federal Department of Labor and the state Department of Labor quite frankly didn't do a good enough job of messaging that your year is up and you have to push the reapply button. That's really all the problem is. People can't just do what they've done for 52 weeks in a row. If your year comes up, you have to start over. People are upset about that, but that's just what the federal law is," Hogan told WJZ Tuesday.
However, some unemployment recipients who say they have not received benefits for a full year still reported having problems recertifying their weekly claims.
Lawmakers, like Baltimore City Delegate Talmadge Branch, questioned Labor officials about the issues. "They're trying to get the basic benefit that's owed to them because they're no longer working," Branch told Maryland Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson during a House hearing Tuesday afternoon.
Robinson defended the BEACON system and the job the state is doing. "No state in the nation could have been prepared for this type of pandemic," Secretary Robinson said about the number of claims.
Some lawmakers are also upset about the governor's announcement Maryland will not take more than $1 billion in extra federal employment money—adding up to $300 a week for individuals—because there are too many jobs that need to be filled.
"It just seems really dangerous," said Delegate Loring Charkoudian, a Montgomery County Democrat.
Other lawmakers believe the governor is making the right decision.
"If you look at Ocean City, when you can't staff people, these are serious, serious issues for businesses," said Republican Delegate Steven Arentz, who represents parts of several Eastern Shore counties.
Hogan defended his decision. "I was hearing from hundreds of businesses every day saying we can't get people back to work. There are currently 9.3 million jobs available—more than ever before in the past 20 years and people aren't filling them," Hogan told WJZ.
Capps, like others who are self-employed and gig workers, likely will not get anything after July 3rd after being promised extra unemployment funds through September.
"You don't tell people, 'do this and you'll be ok and then pull the rug out from under them, which is what they've done," she said.
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