Marylanders frustrated with unemployment website


MARYLAND – With social distancing guidelines in place and some businesses shut down, thousands of Marylanders are without work. That means they have to turn to unemployment to try to stay afloat. However, the state’s unemployment site is almost impossible to get through. People say they are stuck with long waits – and sometimes, an unresponsive site. “It took us about 4 and a half hours to work through the system,” said Victoria Kent.

Some who are trying to access the site say they’ve had to wait even longer. “I spent, probably, going on 14 plus hours since Friday,” said Deborah Ritterson.

As the queue runs up towards hundreds of thousands, some say they’re losing hope. “It just seems crazy to me that you know this wasn’t thought out further, this wasn’t worked out more. You know, thousands and thousands of people are depending on this. They’re trying to get answers,” said Ritterson.

Delegates tell 47ABC that they’re doing all they can to help people voice their frustrations to Annapolis, but they’re not getting many answers either. “We’re told every day that they’re working on it. We call up there every day and we just keep hammering the fact, over and over, that this is just not good enough,” said district 38B delegate Carl Anderton Jr.

The Maryland Department of Labor partnered up with the software company Sagitec to build the web portal. Anderton Jr. says he and others are being told the website simply can’t hold up under the sheer volume of people trying to use it. “It’s hundreds of thousands of people across the state doing the same things and so it’s just mass volume. I mean this is just wholly unprecedented,” said Anderton Jr.

Kent – who says she and her boyfriend waited for hours to get through the site – tells 47ABC that even if you do manage to complete your application, the light at the end of the tunnel is dim. She says after hours of frustration and waiting, the couple was only told they’d be given an approval or denial of their application in 21 days. Kent says 21 days is too long of a wait when you have a family to feed and businesses to run. “Families need to eat, you know? Bills still have to be paid, especially if you’re self employed. A lot of self employed people have business assets to pay,” said Kent.

47ABC is told the website is being taken offline every night from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. for maintenance. The state department of labor says they hope this will help to boost the website’s capability to handle the large numbers of people trying to access it.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, Maryland, Money