New Maryland unemployment portal crashes

Almost as soon as it launched, the Maryland Department of Labor’s brand-new unemployment portal crashed under the weight of people looking to file claims.

According to the agency spearheading the portal, the Division of Unemployment Insurance, the new one-stop application process was subjected to “rigorous testing,” but couldn’t meet the immediate demand.

The agency is telling people to return later Friday morning while the third-party vendor fixes the issue.

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Governor Larry Hogan’s communications director, Mike Ricci, lauded the new portal as a pathway to unemployment insurance for workers from a broad range of industries impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

According to Ricci, eligible people include those who are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Insurance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

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People who aren’t normally eligible for unemployment – including gig workers, sole proprietors, independent contractors and the self-employed – will be eligible to apply for a maximum 39 weeks until Dec. 31, 2020.

Like people in most states that shut down “non-essential businesses” in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, hundreds of thousands of Marylanders have been left jobless.