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

  1. There is a federal law/regulation that states that an employee who is sick or fatigue cannot drive a commercial vehicle and companies are prohibited from requesting or allowing an employee to do so. I was just recently in this situation where I hadn’t slept in over 24hrs and told my employer this stating that it is not safe for me to drive or be working. The employer still insisted that work(which does include driving) and I refused. The employer is now terminating me because of this. Can I claim unemployment?

    1. Dear Donald White,
      Unfortunately what you describe happens every day, especially as we are facing a shortage of OTR and other types of drivers. Hopefully, you have some kind of documentation about what happened but even if you don’t, it doesn’t hurt to apply. In Colorado as in other states you have to have earned a certain amount of money, which it’s likely you did.

      This is from our website:



  2. Was laid off due to COVID in 2021. I while looking for full time work and collecting unemployment, I went back to school and finished my bachelors degree hoping it would help find work easier and better work at that. It did and I finally got employed a few months after graduating when I added a bachelors to my applications. Was it ok that I collected unemployment while going back to college ? I received no additional aid like grants and took out private loans to pay for the two semester. I activity searched for full time work while in those two spring and summer semesters. I hope I didn’t do something wrong. Please help

    1. Please note UI benefits are only extended to claimants who are actively seeking employment and fulfil all the criteria.

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