Monetary Eligibility - Sections 8-802,
8-803 - Maryland Unemployment Decisions Digest
The provisions dealing with monetary eligibility were
previously located in Article 95A, Sections 4(d)
and 3(b) of the Annotated Code of Maryland. After
the law was revised in 1991, these provisions were
recodified as Sections 8-802 and 8-803 of the Labor
and Employment Article of the Annotated Code.
In order to collect unemployment insurance benefits,
a claimant must be monetarily eligible. To determine
a claimant's monetary eligibility, the first issue
to be addressed is whether the claimant worked in
covered employment during his base period. A base
period is the first four of the last five completed
calendar quarters immediately preceding the start
of the claimant's benefit year. A benefit year is
a one-year period that starts on the first day of
the first week for which a claimant initially files
for benefits. Covered employment is defined as work
that an individual performs for an employing unit that is the basis for benefits.
Section 8-802 provides that a claimant must have been paid
wages for covered employment during at least two
calendar quarters of his base period. To qualify
for benefits, the claimant must have sufficient
earnings during the applicable base period.
In determining whether a claimant has sufficient wages
credited during his statutory base period to qualify
him for unemployment compensation benefits, the
clear, unambiguous legislative intent, as buttressed
by the legislative history of the unemployment insurance
law, is that eligibility is controlled by wages
actually paid, and not by the wages earned, within
the statutory base period. Maryland Department
of Employment Security v. Werner, 231 Md. 474, 190 A.2d 786 (1963).
If a claimant has sufficient earnings, he is eligible
for a weekly benefit amount. Section 8-803 provides
a schedule for determining this. The schedule of
benefits that is in effect on the first day of a
claimant's benefit year applies to the claimant throughout that benefit year.
COMAR 09.32.02.10 provides for payment of partial benefits
to a claimant who performs services for wages but
earns less in gross wages than his weekly benefit
amount. Section 8-803(d) provides a method for calculating
the amount of partial benefits a claimant is paid.
If the agency makes a clerical error in determining
the claimant's wages for a particular calendar quarter
in the base period, giving the claimant a higher
weekly benefit amount, the agency may issue a redetermination
lowering the weekly benefit amount and creating
an overpayment. See, Section 8-806(f)(1), which
specifically gives the agency the authority to redetermine cases.
Monetary Eligibility - Sections 8-802, 8-803
I. In General
A. Wages Used in Determining Monetary Eligibility
Where it has been determined that a claimant's services
are in covered employment within the meaning of Section
8-201, any wages he earned from those services in
his benefit year should be counted in a determination
of his weekly benefit amount under Section 8-803.
Penley v. Mt. St. Joseph High School, 899-BH-83.
Similarly, where it has been determined that a claimant's services
are not in covered employment within the meaning
of Section 8-201, any wages he earned from those
services in his benefit year should not be counted
in a determination of his weekly benefit amount
under Section 8-803. Feldman v. Yeshiva High
School of Greater Washington, Inc., 878-BR-84
Gasoline expenses paid to the claimant delivery driver do
not constitute wages within the meaning of Section
8-101(z), and should be deducted from his covered
wages in the calculation of his eligibility for
unemployment insurance benefits under Section 8-803.
Nemerov v. Ken and Ray's Service Center, 1501-BH-81.
Payments made to the claimant were paid "under a plan or
system" established by the employer "on account
of ... sickness or accident disability..." within
the meaning of Section 8-101(z), and those payments
are not covered wages within the meaning of the
law. Therefore, the claimant was not paid the qualifying
amount of wages under Section 8-802 and is not eligible
for benefits under Section 8-803. Sprow v. Prince
George's County Government, 463-BR-82.
A fellowship awarded to the claimant during his base period,
which was intended to defray his living expenses
during the course of his studies, does not constitute
"wages" within the meaning of Section 8-101(z).
Since the claimant was not paid wages for insured
work during his base period as required under Section
8-802, the claimant is ineligible for benefits.
Taub v. Institute for Behavior Resources, 400-BH-85.
A post-doctorate fellow was held to be an employee
who performed services in covered employment within
the meaning of Section 8-802. The Board cited the
presumption of Maryland Unemployment law in favor
of coverage and found that exemptions set forth
in, Labor & Employment, Article 8, Section 220
did not apply. The Board held, "The fact that the
claimant was paid through a grant, rather than through
more permanent funding and the fact that he was
contractual, rather than permanent, does not change
his status from employee to student." Francis
P. Saitta v. Johns Hopkins University, 3058-BH-97.
Effective January 1, 1987, income from tips which is reported
to the Internal Revenue Service is considered wages
and may qualify a claimant for benefits monetarily.
Silver v. David and Jonathan, Inc., 865-BR-86.
See, COMAR 09.32.01.14A(1)(d).
B. Determination of Benefit Year
Under Section 8-803(c), the schedule of benefits
which is in effect on the first day of an individual's
benefit year shall be the schedule of benefits which
shall apply to that individual throughout the benefit
year. The term "benefit year" is defined in Section
8-101(d) as the one-year period beginning with the
first day of the first week with respect to which
the individual first filed a claim for benefits.
Therefore, where a claimant deliberately chose her
benefit year by filing her claim (after being advised
that her weekly benefit amount would be higher if
she waited an additional week), the claimant is
subject to the provisions of Sections 8-101(d) and
8-803, and her weekly benefit amount is fixed for
the duration of her benefit year. Berkovich, 1115-BH-81.
II. Claims for Benefits
Although there may exist some latitude in the
law for the withdrawing of a claim, a claimant cannot
withdraw a claim after she has waited 19 days after
deliberately choosing her benefit year, and after
she has received two checks in the weekly benefit
amount calculated according to the benefit year she
chose. At some point, the agency has the right and
the obligation to consider a claim as finally filed
and to apply the law as it relates to that filed claim.
NOTE: The Board specifically reserved the question
as to whether or not a claimant can withdraw a claim. Berkovich, 1115-BH-81.
Where a claimant reports to file a claim during the last
week in a calendar quarter, the local office personnel
should advise the claimant that the base period
will change at the beginning of the next week, and
the claimant should be given the option of filing
a claim at that time or reporting back the following
week. U.I. Division Instruction 15-79 (11-20-79).
Where the claimant is not advised of this option
and files a claim, the claimant may later withdraw
that claim and refile, particularly where the change
in quarters impacts upon the claimant's weekly benefit amount. Taylor, 493-BH-85.
III. Eligibility for Partial Benefits
A. Requirement: "Unemployment" or "Partial Unemployment"
The claimant was employed as a full-time real estate
agent, working more than 50 hours per week. Section
8-803 permits weekly benefits for one who is partially
unemployed. However, a claimant is not entitled to
unemployment benefits where he is working on a full-time
basis, and is therefore not unemployed, even though
he is earning less than his weekly benefit amount.
The claimant is not entitled to partial benefits under
Section 8-803. Williams v. Trading Post, Inc., 896-SE-89.
B. Determining Eligibility
In determining eligibility for partial benefits
under Section 8-803(d), it is incorrect to base
the calculation on the amount of wages received
by a claimant during the week. Rather, the correct
calculation is done by determining which wages are
due to the claimant or have been paid to the claimant
for services performed during the week in question.
Montague v. Baltimore City Schools, 1495-BR-82.
Where a claimant performed services in his own business
for which he was remunerated, the remuneration should
have been reported by the claimant and deducted
from his benefit amount under Sections 8-801 and
8-803(d). Joy v. Atlantic Vinyl Repair Service, 392-BH-84.
IV. Schedule of Benefits
The claimant did not have sufficient wages in her
base period because only wages that were actually
paid during a quarter must be credited to that quarter
for the purpose of determining monetary eligibility.
The claimant's $60,000 in wages may be counted toward
her monetary eligibility, but it all must be credited
to the quarter when paid. Wages earned in only one
quarter cannot qualify a claimant monetarily for unemployment
insurance benefits under Section 8-803. The claimant
did not have sufficient payment of wages within the
base period in order to qualify for eligibility for
unemployment insurance benefits within the meaning
of Section 8-802. Zeman v. Mane, Inc., 127-BR-88.
The claimant originally filed for unemployment insurance
benefits on July 7, 1991. At this time, she did
not have sufficient wages in her base period (the
last three quarters of 1990 and the first quarter
of 1991) to qualify monetarily for a weekly benefit
amount under Section 8-803. According to agency
records, she was paid additional wages of $3112.27
in the second quarter of 1991. Under Section 8-803,
the claimant qualified for benefits as of October
1, 1991. Albright v. Francis Scott Key Medical
V. Qualifying Wages Under Section 8-802
A disqualification under Section 8-909(c) is a disqualification
only from benefits which are based on educational
earnings. Benefits based on other noneducational earnings
may still be payable. Silwick v. Baltimore County Schools, 127-BR-83.