Many in Maryland still waiting on unemployment since new portal launch nearly 6 weeks ago

It’s been nearly a month and a half since the Maryland Department of Labor launched a one-stop-shop for unemployment claims – but it has yet to eliminate a large backlog of cases, and lawmakers and those waiting for benefits want answers.

More than 70,000 people are still waiting.

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The department has received more than half a million unemployment claims since early March, and they say they have processed 86 percent of them.

But FOX 5 talked to a number of people on Friday via Zoom who say they continue to have major struggles just getting someone on the phone who will give them some peace of mind that their claim is being reviewed.

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"So I had to call and have called every day since Memorial Day starting at 7 a.m. and I have not gotten through,” said Hunter Moore.

Moore’s work revolves around conventions – and that industry has been shuttered by the COVID-19 threat.

Moore hasn’t received a penny since he filed his initial claim in April.

"I have a Facebook group that I helped create and I have 4,100 members - actually 4300 members as of this morning - and more than 90 percent of them have not gotten their money yet,” said Joshua Godoy.

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Godoy calls the page Maryland Unemployment Q and A – and it’s a place for people to vent and share information.

"You can't reach anyone to get any answers as to what’s going on,” Sharon Southern said.

Southern and her friend Curtis tell mush the same story as others – it’s extremely difficult to reach anyone with a satisfactory answer.

The frustration is such that the Maryland Congressional Delegation sent a letter to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in which they said:

“We continue to hear from many constituents every day who are encountering problems – some of these include errors processing weekly certifications, performance of the state’s Beacon online system and inaccurate denial of benefits.”

In fact, the State Department of Labor said in a release on Thursday that they had cut the backlog nearly in half, and the pending claims, more than 70,000 of them have one or more issues that are blocking the payment of funds.

The state says it has received more than half a million claims for benefits since March.