09.32.02.16

.16 Benefit Payment.

A. Review of Claim. After an initial, reopened, or continued claim is filed, the Secretary shall review the claim and any separation information received from employers, together with any other available information to determine if the claimant is eligible for benefits for the week or weeks being claimed.

B. Material Fact. A material fact is a fact that is of consequence to a decision regarding eligibility or disqualification for benefits.

C. Payment of Benefits When Claimant Found Eligible and Not Disqualified.

(1) Benefit payments shall be initiated as quickly as administratively feasible when:

(a) There is no dispute of material fact;

(b) The Secretary finds the claimant eligible and not disqualified; and

(c) The Department receives the claimant's complete and correct continued claim.

(2) Unless a question of continued eligibility arises, payment of benefits shall continue on a biweekly basis following the receipt of the claimant's complete and correct biweekly claim forms.

D. Fact-Finding Interview When There Is No Dispute of Material Fact. When the Secretary's review of an initial, reopened, or continued claim reveals no dispute of material fact, but the information reviewed indicates that the claimant may be ineligible or disqualified, the Secretary shall schedule the claimant for an appointment for a fact-finding interview pursuant to Regulation .04C of this chapter.

E. Fact-Finding Proceeding When There Is a Dispute of Material Fact. When the Secretary's review of an initial, reopened, or continued claim reveals a dispute of material fact concerning whether the claimant is eligible or disqualified, the Secretary shall:

(1) Send a written notice by first-class mail or electronic means to the claimant and any employer who may have knowledge of the disputed facts, stating:

(a) The date, time, place, and type of the proceeding,

(b) The issues to be resolved at the proceeding,

(c) That the proceeding may result in the denial of benefits or may affect the employer's earned-rate record or reimbursement account, and

(d) That any party shall have the right to be present by telephone or in person as required by the Secretary and may be represented by an attorney or other representative of the party's choosing;

(2) Conduct a proceeding at which the parties may:

(a) Be present, by telephone or in person, as required by the Secretary,

(b) Be represented by an attorney or other representative of the party's choosing,

(c) Present and rebut evidence and argument relating to the issues,

(d) Cross-examine any person who participates in person or by telephone at the proceeding and testifies or provides information relating to the issues, and

(e) Be given the opportunity to examine all evidence relating to that issue that is before the Secretary; and

(3) Provide a reasonable opportunity to a party to rebut any relevant evidence that the Secretary receives after the proceeding and that may be a basis for a decision.

F. Decision.

(1) After conducting an interview or a proceeding as set forth in §D or E of this regulation, the Secretary shall send a written decision to all parties by first-class mail or electronic means that:

(a) Informs the parties of the right to appeal pursuant to COMAR 09.32.06;

(b) States the provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Law on which the decision is based;

(c) Explains the reasons for the determination in sufficient detail to inform the parties why benefits were awarded or denied; and

(d) Explains what the claimant must do to requalify for benefits or purge the disqualification, if the determination denies benefits.

(2) Benefit payments shall be initiated as quickly as administratively feasible in accordance with a decision awarding benefits.

G. Expedited Payment for Benefits Due Claimant.

(1) The Secretary may expedite payment for benefits due a claimant if the:

(a) Secretary has found the claimant eligible and not disqualified; and

(b) Claimant submits to the office designated by the Secretary:

(i) A complete and correct claim form for benefits due the claimant, and

(ii) Satisfactory evidence that an immediate financial hardship exists.

(2) Examples of an immediate financial hardship include:

(a) Imminent eviction; or

(b) Utility cut-off notice.