Federal enhanced unemployment benefits will continue in Maryland at least through August, the state labor secretary testified Monday during a hearing related to two lawsuits seeking the continuation of the benefits.
News outlets report that Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson told a Baltimore judge that federal benefits, including supplemental $300 weekly payments, would continue because the federal government requires 30 days’ notice to opt out. The Biden administration notified Robinson that if Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill denies an injunction forcing Maryland to continue the programs, the state must go through the 30-day period again.
Last month, Gov. Larry Hogan announced that the state would discontinue benefits July 3 ahead of their expiration in September. Other states with Republican governors have taken similar steps. The Unemployed Workers Union and Public Justice Center filed lawsuits to halt Hogan’s plans and Fletcher-Hill granted a temporary restraining order, barring the state from following through.
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Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that ending the benefits early cuts off a lifeline for struggling families. Hogan has said ending the benefits will help get people into jobs.
The 10-day order is set to expire Tuesday. The judge said he planned to issue a written decision on whether to extend that order Tuesday morning.