Unemployment Modernization (BEACON) for Employers and Third-Party Agents - Unemployment Insurance
In September 2020, the Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance (the Division) launched a new unemployment insurance system, BEACON. With BEACON, employers and third-party agents can complete several tasks in one central location online, such as submitting wage reports, paying contributions, filing appeals, and accessing their tax rates. The FAQs below provide important information about the unemployment insurance system and instructions for employers and third-party agents to create accounts in BEACON. Employers may access BEACON for Employers, and third-party agents may access BEACON by selecting BEACON for third-party agents.
If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact the Employer Call Center at 410-949-0033.
- When did BEACON launch?
BEACON launched on Sunday, September 20, 2020, for claimants and on Monday, September 21, 2020, for employers and third-party agents.
- How can employers and third-party agents register or activate their accounts in BEACON?
- If you are a new employer or agent, select “Register for an Account” and follow the prompts.
- If you are an existing employer or agent, select “I need to activate my account” and follow the prompts.
Additional information is available in the:
- BEACON Employer FAQs
- BEACON Account Activation for Employers with an Unemployment Insurance Account (Instructions)
- BEACON New Employer Account Registration (Instructions)
- Employers’ Quick Reference Guide
- How can employers and third-party agents get more information about BEACON?
Employers and third-party agents can use the following resources to learn more about BEACON:
- BEACON System section on the Division homepage;
- BEACON employer and third-party agent tutorial videos;
- BEACON Glossary of Terms;
- Employers’ Quick Reference Guide; and,
- Unemployment Modernization: Information for Employers web page.
- Can employers/third-party agents pay unemployment insurance taxes and submit wage reports electronically in BEACON?
Yes, employers and agents can pay unemployment insurance taxes and submit wage reports electronically in BEACON. Step-by-step instructions for submitting wage reports are available in the BEACON Employer Wage Upload and in the BEACON Third-Party Agent Wage Uploadtutorial videos. For information about submitting wage reports and file formats for report submission, see the Instructions for Employers or Instructions for Third Party Agents documents.
Accounts and Account Numbers
- If an employer/agent had an account with a previous Maryland unemployment insurance system (such as the Maryland Automated Benefits System), does the employer/agent have to re-register the account in BEACON?
No. Existing employer and agent information was transferred to BEACON when the system launched in 2020. However, existing employers and agents must activate an account in BEACON.
- Did the launch of BEACON impact employer and agent unemployment insurance account numbers?
No, employer and agent unemployment insurance account numbers were not impacted by the launch of BEACON. Unemployment insurance account numbers were carried over to BEACON
- Can employers request to be converted to reimbursing status in BEACON?
No, employers cannot request to be converted to reimbursing status in BEACON. Employers who wish to be converted should call the Employer Call Center at 410-949-0033 for more information.
- Did the launch of BEACON affect the powers of attorney (POA) employers have in place?
No, authorizations provided by employers to third-party agents through the POA were carried over to BEACON. Any changes to authorizations or employer-agent relationships will require new documentation.
Third-Party Agent Roles
- Does BEACON allow employers to assign specific tasks to individual third-party agents (for example, one agent handles unemployment insurance claims and another reports payroll)?
Yes. Employers may designate specific tasks for individual agents through the POA.
- Can employers authorize third-party agents to perform certain roles in BEACON? May only one third-party agent be assigned to each role or may all third-party agents perform whatever roles are assigned?
Each third-party agent has specific roles as assigned by the employer through the POA. There are certain roles (assigned through the POA) that give a third-party agent the ability to perform specific tasks in BEACON on behalf of their client.
- Does each third-party agent have their own BEACON account? Can multiple agents be assigned to one main third-party agent account, but use individual login credentials to access the account?
A third-party agent BEACON account can have multiple users who access the same account using individual login credentials.
Power of Attorney (POA)
- Were POAs grandfathered into BEACON? Do employers need to grant agents access to BEACON?
If a POA was on file and active when BEACON launched, that information was transferred to BEACON. Employers authorize third-party agents through a POA, and agents can then create their accounts in BEACON. When an agent creates an account, BEACON will match the agent to the employer.
- Did the process of establishing POA and an official mailing address change after BEACON launched?
Yes. Employers can submit a POA authorization form and establish an official mailing address in BEACON. Please see the POA instructions for more information about designating a POA. All third-party agents are required to have an active POA on file and approved by the Division to perform activity on an employer's behalf. Employers will establish an official mailing address when they activate an account in BEACON. After the account is activated, an employer can update the mailing address in BEACON. Three addresses are required in BEACON mailing, business, and legal addresses.
- Can multiple agents be granted access to one BEACON agent account?
Multiple agents can access BEACON through one third-party agent account. However, each third-party agent must have a separate POA on file and be approved by the Division. Each POA must designate the specific functionality for which the third-party agent will be provided access.
- Will an employer need to file new POA forms for third-party agents after creating an account in BEACON?
If the POA is on file with the State of Maryland and approved by the Division, the employer does not have to replace the POA, unless it is expired or invalid. Each agent must have an active POA on file for the activities the agent intends to perform in BEACON.
Tax Rates, Benefit Charging, Payments, and Protests
- Since BEACON launched, do employers and agents have to make reimbursable payments electronically?
The preference would be to receive payment electronically. However, payments can also be made by check and a P.O. Box has been established for reimbursable payments:
Division of Unemployment Insurance, P.O. Box 84, Baltimore, Maryland 21203-0084.
- Are benefit charge statements available in BEACON?
- Can benefit charges be protested in BEACON?
Benefit charges can be protested in BEACON or by mail.
- Were there any changes to the SIDES system after BEACON launched?
BEACON’s launch did not impact how SIDES functions, and BEACON interfaces with SIDES.