The millionaire former county executive of Harford County has applied for state unemployment compensation benefits, claiming that he was involuntarily laid off last fall when he was defeated for reelection.

Harford County has protested the claim of former executive Charles B. Anderson Jr., saying that a change in state law prohibits elected officials from drawing benefits when they are defeated.

What's all the fuss about?" asked Anderson's mother when she answered the phone at his home yesterday. "He paid into it, didn't he? And he's unemployed, isn't he?"

The former county executive listed his net worth as $1.2 million in a financial disclosure statement filed in the Democratic primary last June.However, unemployment compensation is a form of insurance, and a person's assets have no bearing on whether an applicant is eligible for compensation, said Adelia Cox, manager of the State Employment Security Administration in Harford County.

"We never ask a person whether they have a certain amount of money in the bank. That doesn't have anything to do with being eligible," said Cox.

Anderson applied for benefits earlier this month with state unemployment compensation officials and the county protested when the application was routinely forwarded to Harford as his former employer, said deputy county attorney Maurice W. Baldwin Jr.

"We said we thought he was ineligible because of provisions in state law," Said Baldwin. Baldwin said that the current state law excludes "service performed after Dec. 31, 1977, by an individual in the employ of a governmental entity... as an elected official."

The county has taken the position that the law means that an application made by an elected official after Dec. 31, 1977, may not be granted.

As county executive. Anderson earned a yearly salary of $27,500, which would qualify him for the maximum benefits payable of $106 a week.

Both Anderson and the county will be notified in writing when the local office make a determination on whether Anderson is eligible for benefits, said Cox. Either side may then appeal the decision, she said.

Unemployment compensation is financed by employers who pay a tax on their payrolls of up to $6,000 per individual, said Cox. If a person is laid off for lack of work, he or she may file a claim. The state requires that some payment must have been made into the fund on behalf of the individual and that the applicant must be able to work and actively seeking employment. CAPTION: Picture, CHARLES B. ANDERSON JR.... worth put at $1.2 million