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Colorado Unemployment Eligibility

You have to meet the following requirements in order to qualify for the unemployment insurance benefits in Colorado.

Non Monetary Eligibility

  • Be unemployed through no fault of your own
  • Be able, available, and actively seeking work
  • Register with a Workforce Center in Colorado or in the state in which you live in. You can register for work in Colorado here or by visiting your local Workforce Center.
  • Quitting job for a good cause
  • Be willing to accept suitable work
  • Fired from job for “just cause”

Monetary Eligibility

In order to qualify monetarily, you must have earned $2,500 during your base period (the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the start date of your claim).

If you did not earn at least $2,500 during the standard base period, you may be qualified using an alternate base period (the last four completed calendar quarters before the start date of your claim). Follow the instructions on the Statement of Wages and Possible Benefits to request an alternative base period.

You will obtain a form called Statement of Wages and Possible Benefits that shows how much you earned and how much you may collect in benefits.

Eligibility Questions

Am I eligible to draw benefits if I am fired?

If you are fired in Colorado, you can typically collect unemployment benefits as long as your employer didn’t discharge you for gross misconduct.

Colorado defines gross misconduct as:

  1. negligence,
  2. repeated absences
  3. harm or the willful disregard of the employer’s interests in such a way that demonstrates the employee’s guilt or wrongful intent,
  4. when an employee assaults or threatens to assault his co-workers or superiors

In most cases, you can’t collect unemployment if you were fired for cause, but there are exceptions. The burden of proof is on the employer to show there was cause to fire you. If the employer doesn’t provide it, you might be able to collect. If the employer does show evidence, the CDLE (Colorado Department of Labor and Employment) gives you the option to provide your own proof you were fired for reasons other than just cause or that violate the state labor laws. You might show written communication between the two parties, notarized witness statements and any other relevant information that backs up your claim.

What happens if I get laid off?

Generally, in Colorado you have to have lost your job through no mistake of your own in order to receive unemployment. When you get laid-off, it is not your fault.

Getting laid off does not mean that you were fired or did something wrong. It just means that the company in which you worked did not have suitable work and could no longer afford to pay for your job.

In almost all cases, this means that if you get laid-off, you are eligible to collect unemployment benefits.

If you get laid-off from your job, you should immediately apply for unemployment benefits.

Can I Collect unemployment if I quit my job?

You have the right to leave a job for any reason at any time, but the circumstances of the separation will determine if and when you will receive benefits.

Colorado workers may be able to get unemployment benefits if they had no choice but to quit. If you quit due to abusediscrimination, were required to perform illegal activities in the course of duty, had to accompany a military spouse stationed elsewhere or could no longer work due to injury or illness, then you may be eligible for unemployment.

Some of the other reasons include:

  • Domestic violence
  • Personal harassment by the employer not related to the job performance
  • Hazardous working conditions
  • medical conditions

How does the Division of Unemployment Insurance determine who is eligible?

The Division of Unemployment Insurance requests information from both the claimant and the employer as to the reasons for the job separation. Those facts are then evaluated according to the requirements as stated in the Colorado Employment Security Act.

More Questions?? —-> Read Eligibility Q & A Section

Want to know about how much you will receive?? —–>Calculate your benefits here

Questions & Answers

  1. Mike smith says:

    I bartend and worked for 9 years and my place is closing and they offered me a serving position at another location that will be a severe drop in pay. Am I eligible for unemployment or is that a “suitable”job replacement

    • Sam says:


      If you decide not to accept the offer, it may go against you. Please check with the Unemployment Office by calling them before making a decision.


    can i retire, get unemployment? i am 61 years old, considering retiring, looking for different work less demanding and not collect SSI till 65 years old

  3. Tricia says:

    My employer reduced my pay significantly. And I will need to find a better paying position elseware. If I quit to look for other work am I eligible for unemployment while I look?

    • Sam says:

      You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  4. Christina Prete says:

    One of the possible reasons for quitting is personal harrassment from the employer. Would this have to have been reported or proven?

    • Sam says:


      In case of a dispute from your employer at the time of claims processing, you will have to report with facts and paperwork.

  5. April Davis says:

    My manager approved a schedule change and have implemented the change for over 3 weeks now. I got the news on a Wednesday that corporate did not approve and is forcing a schedule change starting that Monday. They informed a shift lead that i may quit over but they will not fire me. What are my options?

    • Sam says:


      This is a tricky situation for you. If you quit voluntarily, you will not be eligible to claim UI benefits. Please work out a plan with your employer to remain employed.

  6. Jim says:

    I am in a union and we are about to go on strike in Colorado. Can I get unemployment if there is a strike and I don’t cross the picket line?

    • Sam says:


      I am not sure if you can be eligible for voluntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office to ascertain eligibility.

  7. Caila says:

    Am I able to attend school in the evenings and maintain unemployment claim eligibility?

    • Sam says:


      If the school hours does not affect your ability to seek full-time employment and accept a suitable offer, you can continue to be eligible.

      Please call the Claims Center for further details.

  8. Misty says:

    If an employer files bankruptcy and all employees lose their jobs AND the a new company bought out the old bankrupt company, can an employee still file for unemployment because the work hours and job changed from the original employment?

    If an employee went to work for the company that bought out the old bankrupt company, and is not satisfied with the job/pay – is there a time limit in which they can still file unemployment against the bankrupt company?

    • Sam says:


      This question is subjective and best answered by the Unemployment Office authorities.

      Please call the Unemployment Office.

  9. Kate says:

    I was laid off a long-standing job at Company A in May. They asked me to stay 2 weeks, until May 15. I started a new job with Company B on June 26, and it is not a good fit. If I resign, will I be eligible for unemployment?

    • Sam says:


      It may be considered as voluntary separation. Since its a very short stint with your latest employer, please call the Unemployment Office for further advice.

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