Receiving unemployment benefits is a mixed benefit: it’s better to have a job, both financially and for the sense of security and accomplishment it gives a worker. Unemployment benefits are a reasonably good safety net, though, when the job search effort is not working out. It might keep the roof over the heads, the mac and cheese in the bellies.
Congress and Maryland have been gradually increasing the number of weeks of benefits allowed, in the context of the lingering recession and the unemployment rate at 10%, according to the latest statistics, but topping that in many places.
This morning’s New York Times reported that we may not see the pattern in former recessions, where unemployment continued to rise even as the economy climbed back.
Still, it could be awhile before the unemployment rate drifts back down to 4 or 5%. Maryland now has increased the maximum weekly benefit, which is now $410. This rate applies to employees who formerly earned from $9,816 per calendar quarter and up. For many people that is a major comedown from their former salaries, but this benefit is necessary for many people to survive. The schedule of benefits can be found here.