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Maryland House Expands Unemployment Benefits For Most, Decreases For Some

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By Sabri Ben-Achour

Unemployment benefits in Maryland will change under a bill approved by that state's House of Delegates. Gov. Martin Omalley pushed for these changes so the state could receive $127 million in federal stimulus money.

Overall, the changes make more people eligible for unemployment benefits. The bill would also increase benefits for people enrolled in job training programs while unemployed. But it eliminates benefits for other groups, including people who become sick or disabled and are not seeking employment anymore.

The changes would also allow businesses to spread out payments to Maryland's unemployment compensation fund and lower the interest rates for late payments through 2011. This was a compromise between the state's labor and business communities, and passed handily 101 to 33.

The measure now goes to Gov. Martin O'Malley for his signature.

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