Through the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program, the Colorado Department Of Labor and Employment (CDLE) offers temporary monetary assistance to unemployed workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own. Read through the page to know more about the eligibility requirements, documents required, the application process, and many other related information.
UI Benefit Amount in Colorado
The following Unemployment Benefits Calculator will help you determine the approximate unemployment compensation that you can receive in Colorado.
Try our Colorado unemployment calculator to estimate your weekly benefits.
Eligibility To Apply for UI Benefits in Colorado
To receive unemployment benefits in Colorado, all unemployment claims must meet monetary, job separation, and other eligibility requirements.
To qualify for unemployment benefits in Colorado, a worker must earn a minimum of $2,500 during his or her base period. If the applicant fails to earn the minimum amount in the base period, the Department may consider earnings in the alternate base period.
Base Period – In Colorado, the base period is the first four of the five complete calendar quarters before the unemployment claim’s start date.
Alternate Base Period – It is the last four completed calendar quarters before the start date of the unemployment claim.
Note – The applicant must follow the instructions on the Statement of Wages and Possible Benefits to request an alternative base period. The Statement of Wages and Possible Benefits form shows how much the applicant earned and how much benefits he or she can collect.
Another critical eligibility requirement is the reason for separation from the previous employer. An applicant can qualify for the Colorado unemployment benefits only if he or she lost employment due to any following reasons.
The applicant has lost the job through no fault of his or her own
The applicant quit the job due to the domestic violence
The applicant quit the job due to the harassment by the employer or the employer’s inability to stop harassment by a coworker
The applicant quit the job due to the hazardous working conditions
The applicant has a medical condition and is not able to work
Note – The Department Of Labor and Employment may contact the Colorado employer to determine the actual reason for job separation. Therefore, the applicant must make sure to keep the Department informed of the actual reason, failing to which you will not qualify for benefits.
In addition to meeting eligibility requirements while submitting the application, the applicant should maintain them throughout the benefits. Some of the ways in which the applicant can maintain eligibility include:
Be willing to accept suitable work
Be available to start work immediately
Be physically and mentally able to work
Request weekly payments biweekly
Report all worked hours and gross wages earned each time while requesting payment
Work search requirements: You must actively seek work and document work-search activities. (The Department recommends to complete at least 5 work-search activities per week)
Register with a workforce center online or in person at the local workforce center
To apply for Colorado unemployment benefits, the applicant needs the following documents:
The applicant can apply for Colorado unemployment benefits using any of the following methods:
Applicants can apply for a claim online through the MyUI+. Applicants with last names starting with the letters A through M must file online on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, or afternoons on Saturdays. Applicants with last names beginning with N through Z must file on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, or before noon on Saturdays. Note that the online system will sometimes be taken down for maintenance between 6-8 P.M. If the system maintenance message pop-up at any other time of day, the applicant must clear the browser history and refresh the page.
Applicants can also file a claim by calling 303-318-9000 for applicants in the Denver metro area and toll-free 1-888-550-2800 for the rest of the state. Note – The applicant can contact the Department’s Virtual Assistant by phone and online at cdle.colorado.gov to clear doubts regarding the claim. If the Virtual Assistant is unable to answer the question, the applicant can schedule a callback with the Department’s customer service representatives.
Applicants must file a weekly claim (weekly certification) to continue to receive the unemployment benefits. Applicants can request payment every week online or by phone. Delay in filing weekly certification can result in loss of unemployment benefits for that week.
There are several aspects that an applicant must know to get through the benefits period without any hassle.
Overpayment And Fraud
If an applicant receives an overpayment through no fault of his or her own, he or she will be required to repay the overpaid unemployment benefits. Overpayments can occur due to various reasons, including an administrative error, a hearing officer reversing a previous award, or the applicant was later disqualified because he or she was found to be responsible for losing the job. An applicant can repay the overpayments using the online MyUI system or through the mail. If the applicant is unable to pay back overpayments, he or she can contact the Division of Unemployment Insurance to determine a repayment agreement.
Fraud/ Willful Misrepresentation
If an applicant receives overpayments due to a fraudulent unemployment claim or knowing misrepresentation, he or she may trigger a fraud alert and be charged a penalty for receiving overpayments. Under CRS 18-4-401, the penalty for Colorado unemployment fraud depends on the extent of the fraudulent and payments unlawfully received. Another form of fraud is when a criminal files for UI benefits using someone else’s information. Be aware of scams online to avoid being a victim of identity theft.
Normally, the state provides regular unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. However, under Colorado law, it might announce Colorado extended benefits under certain circumstances. For example, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) became available during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Job Training Assistance
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment collaborates with the local Workforce Centers to offer educational opportunities and free or supplemental support training to the job seekers. Some of the training programs offered include:
Trade Adjustment Act (TAA)
Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA)
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Approved Training Programs
Also, Colorado Workforce Centers provide various free services to job seekers. They include:
Career counseling and training
Computer, phone, internet, fax, and copier access
Training, classes, resources for veterans, youth, and other groups
Workshops to help with creating/ updating resumes, the application process, interview preparation, computer literacy, and labor market information
Employment Assistance programs are primarily geared toward those collecting unemployment benefits so that they can get the education, job training, or vocational rehabilitation to reenter the workforce and secure long term gainful employment.
There are several employment assistance programs available:
Colorado Employment First helps SNAP benefit recipients with skills training and job search support. There is also a specific senior division for older applicants seeking employment.
ReHire Colorado connects employers and employees through a combination of wage-paying work and on-the-job training or apprenticeship.
The Colorado Refugee Services Program assists refugees in stabilizing and integrating into the workforce and their community.
The Colorado Works Subsidized Training and Employment Program (CW STEP) helps individuals receiving TANF (called Colorado Works in the state) and/or at-risk populations.
The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) can help Colorado residents and their households with food assistance in the form of several programs, some of which are state-specific, and others of which are federally funded, although managed by the CDHS.
SNAP Benefits (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), commonly known as food stamps throughout the United States, is one such program. Participants learn from SNAP-Ed about making better dietary choices on a budget and increasing physical activity to stay healthy.
The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program is for children that attend a school providing food for low-income students, when and if that school switched to a remote or hybrid learning model. As well, Food Distribution Programs work directly with communities to distribute food and meals.
The Colorado Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) is administered by CDHS to help low income Colorado residents stay warm during the winter and keep the lights on. The LEAP program helps seniors, families, and individuals by paying a portion of their energy bill during the months from November through April when the average state low temperature can plunge to 16 degrees Fahrenheit.
Households with income of up to 60% of the state median income level can apply for LEAP benefits to be paid directly to their energy supplier, alleviating heating costs during these winter months. Other benefits may include the repair or even replacement of in-home heating units.
Colorado has several cash assistance programs administered by CDHS, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which in Colorado is known as Colorado Works. Eligible households receive some cash assistance as well as help training, employment guidance, and family stabilization to create long term self-sufficiency.
There are also several Adult Financial Programs that provide cash assistance for specific situations such as the Burial Assistance Program, the Old Age Pension program, and the Home Care Allowance Program. In addition to these programs, there is also cash assistance for disabled and needy individuals and their families to help supplement the cost of care.
The Disability Determination Services (DDS) is the state-level program that assists in determining the eligibility of claimants for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). While SSI is a needs-based program, SSDI is meant to help disabled individuals who can longer work, provided their work history has built up a sufficient number of credits to claim this taxpayer-funded insurance.
SSDI applicants must provide sufficient documentation about the nature of their disability, and the application process can become complicated. Individuals applying should consider soliciting the services of a disability lawyer before they apply, because Colorado’s approval rate for SSDI benefits is around 42%.
Q. What to do if your unemployment claim is denied?
You can file an unemployment appeal if the Department denies your unemployment claim, but you believe you are entitled to receive benefits. Submit an appeal within 20 days of the date you received the Notice of Decision. If the 20th day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, you can file the appeal the next business day. You can file an appeal online or by mail. During the process, make sure you continue to apply for benefits. That is because if you win the appeal, you will receive benefits for the claimed weeks.
Q. Can you get benefits while working part-time?
You can receive partial unemployment benefits if you are working part-time. However, to remain eligible, you must continue to look for work, and you must have earned less than your weekly benefits amount. According to the state, you can earn up to 25% of your weekly benefit. If your earning exceeds, the state will reduce your benefit by one dollar for each dollar earned.
Q. Can you reopen your claim?
Yes, you can reopen your claim if you have lost your job again. To reopen your claim, visit MyUI+ and request payment. Alternatively, you can use Virtual Assistant at cdle.colorado.gov, which will tell you when you should request a weekly payment.
Q. Should you opt for Direct Deposit or Prepaid Debit Card?
If you opt for a Prepaid Debit Card, you'll be charged a fee that will be deducted from your benefits. You can avoid the fee by having your benefits deposited directly in your savings or checking account.
Q. How to cancel the claim?
You can cancel your claim by writing or calling customer service within 12 days after filing the claim. Remember, canceling your claim will remove all your filed claims from the system. Also, you cannot reopen but file a new claim whenever required.
Q. Should you stop filing a claim when you find a new job?
Unemployment benefits are only given to those who don't have a job. If you start a new job, you should immediately stop filing claims. You can reopen it anytime during the one-year benefit period.
Q. Will you continue to receive benefits if you go out of the state?
You will continue to receive unemployment benefits if you move out of Colorado. All you have to do is provide the Department with your new address and continue to file weekly claims. The Department will consider you as an interstate payee and continue to roll out your benefits.