State Watch

Maryland governor faces lawsuit over decision to end COVID-19 aid early

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is facing a lawsuit after he decided to end federal unemployment benefits started during the coronavirus pandemic early.

The Unemployed Workers Union, which is based in Baltimore, is asking a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge to halt Hogan’s decision to end the benefits early and to let them expire on the federal government’s timeline, DCist reported.

The federal unemployment benefits include an extra $300 a week for those who are unemployed.

The federal government plans to end the benefit in September, but multiple states are deciding to end it early as Republicans argue it is contributing to a labor shortage.

The class-action lawsuit filed on Thursday argues the benefits are not contributing to the labor shortage and are needed for those who are still struggling with the effects of the pandemic.

“People’s cars are being repossessed. People’s houses are being foreclosed upon,” said Alec Summerfield, the attorney in the case. “This $300, for many, is the only way for people to put food on the table.” 

“While these federal programs provided important temporary relief, vaccines and jobs are now in good supply,” Hogan said when announcing the decision to cut the aid early, according to the outlet. “We look forward to getting more Marylanders back to work.”

The six workers who are suing say the government also needs to process unemployment insurance claims faster, as they claim it is taking too long for those who are unemployed to receive their benefits. 

Maryland officials said on Monday that they have identified more than 500,000 “potentially fraudulent” unemployment claims filed in the last six weeks. 

The Hill has reached out to the governor’s office for comment.

Tags Larry Hogan Maryland unemployment claims

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