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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

  1. I have been working at my job for almost 2 1/2 years now. When I became pregnant and had my child I was unable to afford childcare. I put in my 2 weeks notice and had a few other job offers that would work around my husbands schedule that would allow for us to not need childcare. My job then offered for me to work from home so that I can stay home with my baby. 4 months later they told me nevermind and that they need me back in the office full time. I am back in the same boat and cannot afford childcare. I turned down my job offers to come back only to be put right back in the same predicament. If I quit will I be eligible for unemployment?

  2. Hi I am working for a non profit as a grant employee, the grant expires in June and the new grant doesn’t come out in time so I will be left without a job.

    Can I qualify for unemployment if I am a grant employee? Also, I have been studying web development in my free time, but would like a more formal program. Would I qualify for education assistance?

    1. I am not sure if you will be eligible since the type of employment (from your post) may be contractual.

      For both your questions, please call the Unemployment Office for precise answers.

  3. I have been working for a non profit for 12+ years, 4 years ago my partner had a partial lung removed because of cancer we must now move to a lower altitude because breathing. Will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

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

  4. I have been working full time for 6 months and had filed for FMLA (my son doesn’t have an immune system/had cancer) and my husband is currently deployed) per my job urging me. They had told me just last week it had been approved. Today I got a call saying I didn’t qualify for FMLA as the regs state you have to be employed for 12 months. My son deals with illness often. He was sick for three weeks straight (I have documentation from his doctors/immunologist etc..) and now I am afraid my job is going to try and terminate me. If I quit my job and leave on good terms, would I qualify for Unemployment due to my sons very serious illness? I have been employed continuously since October 2016, but at this particular job, just 6 months. Looking for my options.

    1. Sanya,

      I can understand your situation. Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered. You may not qualify further.

  5. Great info on this website. I have worked for a non profit for just over five years. I started out with two part time help and they left Nd transferred to another dept. in this time, I took on more work responsibilities and lost the help I did have.lmost two years ago I told my boss that I was drowning with work and needed help, he had me go over the. Budget agreed to hire someone but it never went anywhere. I have had T least two conversations with him since then but it does not go anywhere, were I did tell him I was having a difficult time with getting the work done. I also have thyroid issues Nd have had a difficult time getting it regulated, my doc did tell me that the stress can make my thyroid act out, it was suggested that maybe I quit my job and I wAs given antidepressants. Prescription that I never filled. I have not shared this with many people at work. Everyone at my place of employment is over worked, stressed out and fighting with each other in front of the executive director, who does nothing.When I initially started, I wrote grants to help with the funding, it’s been at least two years since I wrote a grant, last time I did, I stated I wanted to buy a changing table, I took the po to my boss who said he spends enough money on my program it didn’t get anymore. The problem, the grant was written and given with the purpose of buying certain items, I do not write grants Anymore because of this but I do not have proof either. I’m going To discuss the budget again this week and in the past I have heard, unless you want to work for free, we got to figure this out. CN this qualify me, in the State of Colorado for unemployment?

    1. You can be eligible to claim UI benefits if you’re able to prove your case in case of a dispute. When you apply for UI benefits, a notification goes out to the employer and they have the rights to dispute.

      Keep supporting documents handy.

  6. I quit my job 4 months ago to get away from the auto industry, I have them one months notice and took a job as a temp, after 4 months they laid me off due to it being too slow but they want to being me back when it picks up. The UI says my base is through the dealership still. What determination will the dealership have In my claim? Since they will technically be paying for it?

  7. I was fired from my 2 year job because a coworker of mine was clocking me in without my request or knowledge. My information saved on her computer when I used it one time. They performed a “random” audit and found my badge swipes did not match so I was fired. My coworker resigned once they talked to her. I was an outstanding employee during my 2 years with no coachings or write ups. I filed for unemployment but am not sure it will be approved since their reason was misconduct. Are they required to submit proof of misconduct?

    1. There can be a dispute raised by your employer. The agency may deny compensation on the basis of the case made by the employer.

      Be sure to present the facts and supporting documents that speak in your favor. You can also consider filing an “Appeal” for a second consideration.

  8. Just found out today that my employer is going to be changing my shift from graveyards to swings/afternoons. I’m a single dad with my kids 5 days a week from 3 to 10pm, and there’s no way I can work this new schedule. Plus I’ll be loving a shift differential of .70 cents an hour. The shift change is mandatory – no flexibility, but I have no other option for my kids (both 12 and under). Can I quit and still qualify for benefits?

    1. Unfortunately, personal reasons are generally not considered.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to check eligibility before making a decision.

  9. Due to severely worsening depression, that could no longer be managed with therapy alone couple with the stress of working with elderly I put in my two weeks. Before doing so I called a meeting with Dept Head & Facility Director to explain what I was going thru and ask what we could do so I could get the help I needed. Prior to this I had been able to cope without the use of anti-depressants, and I knew that starting one would be a few weeks of adjusting to its effects& finding right dosage. I aked for a medical leave. My boss expressed concern about A)The need to make request 30 days i.a. B) If the 45 day max would be enough to get myself back in order. She said she was afraid if I came back not at 100 that I would eventually be back at square one & if it would effect my job perform more severely than it had. They suggested I put in my two weeks, taking as long as needed, than when I was ready to apply & get my job back. I was awarded benefits, now employer is appealing decision. Stating no prior efforts were made to fix situation & that I was “on drugs” & was about to be fired for extremely poor performance. Should I provide docs about my mental treatment before & after? I WAS once on drugs but by my employment there, was in a medically administered & monitored program with med docs to attest, what about those? Will the raise I was given 6 weeks prior to leaving disprove performance?

  10. I’ve been at the same job for 3 years going on 4. I took the job because of the hours of coming in at 5. A new manager is changing the hour for me to come in at 4. I can’t make it any earlier than 5 due to another job. Can I file for unemployment. I can still do my job and want to stay, but cant get there on time.

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

  11. I have been employed in my current role for past 2 and half years. I have a condition called Variant Angina. I have been in the hospital multiple times for chest pain. I have been diagnosed with 3 mild MI’s in 2 years also had a stent placed. The increased stress and driving between my 2 facilities in my work continues to impact my angina. Been trying my best to manage stress and decreased workload with no noticeable change in frequency of angina. I know what this medical condition can do to me and the added stress of a possible major attack weighs heavily on me. Cardiologist has changed my medication over past 2 years to try to get the best possible outcome. I have tracked my chest pain over past year and see a pattern that is directly impacted by the driving between facilities and stress levels. Is it possible to collect unemployment so I may look for a less stressful position?

    1. Unfortunately, personal reasons such as health issues are not considered. You may not be able to quit and draw UI benefits under such circumstances.

      I suggest that you speak to the Unemployment Office to get their view on this front.

  12. I work in television. I had to sign a 2 year contract that included a non-compete clause that says I can not work at another tvstation for 1 year after my contract ends. They have decided not to renew my contract at the end of its term and gave no reason as to why. As there are only 4 tv stations in the area, and my job is specific to working for a tv station, how does that affect my job hunt requirements? They also offered me a previous position I held in a different department which is different than the job I’ve been doing for 2 years. Does that offer affect my eligibility for unemployment if I turn it down due to less money and that it is not directly in my field? Their choice not to renew doesn’t count as being fired I presume since they are allowing me to finish the contract to my end date. Is that correct, and would I be eligible for unemployment?

    1. Firstly, Contract employment is generally not eligible since employers’ do not always remit taxes that pays Unemployment Benefits.

      Secondly, rejecting a job can be considered voluntary, making you ineligible. I suggest that you speak to the Unemployment Office for further details.

  13. I worked for a company for 4 1/2 years and got terminated last week. I called the corporate office to check on my last payment and ask if my 60+ hours PTO that I accrued will be paid. She said the company will not pay me for the PTO. Is this legal? Thank you.

  14. I have only been employed at this job since April of this year. My boss is asking me to do things that I am certain constitute insurance fraud. If I quit for that reason will I be able to qualify for benefits even though I have not worked there for a full year?

    1. Well, I think you should be eligible as long as you have sufficient employment in the last 4-5 calendar quarters.

      Please call the Unemployment Office before deciding to quit.

  15. I work in Colorado and my employer is in a different state. I received a call that they need to let me go due to work performance. This is the first I have heard of this and had not received notice from a manager that my work was failing their standards. They provided me with the option of either being terminated or resigning. If I resign will I be eligible for unemployment benefits or should I select to be terminated so I may collect on unemployment benefits?

    1. Firstly, if you’re asked to leave due to performance issues, you will not qualify for UI benefits since it is offered only to those their job due to involuntary reasons. Secondly, do not resign since it would still make you ineligible to draw compensation.

      Instead, try to work out a performance improvement plan with your supervisor.

      1. Martin,
        Thank you for your earlier response.
        During my time with the company I had not received any formal performance reviews or emails stating there were any issues with my performance. To me, being forced to make a choice between being fired or resigning was involuntary. Would not having any formal performance reviews assist in my case?

        1. UPDATE: “FORCED RESIGNATION” + “SITUATION THAT WAS OUT OF MY CONTROL” + “NO FAULT OF MY OWN” = Approved for unemployment!!!!!!!

          People – I am sharing this because I was so broken after being informed by my employer that they “do not think this is a good fit” and that I can either be fired or I can “voluntarily resign”. There are a few things to know…
          1. I chose the resignation because if they fired me they would pay me the 90 hours of PTO hours I had incurred, plus I would be employed for another 30 days and obtain two more paychecks.
          2. Although my manager said for me to write in my resignation letter that I voluntarily resign, I did not!! I wrote… “Due to the conversation on (date) regarding the options (name) provided to me, I am forced to submit my resignation”…
          3. Company tried to fight unemployment saying that I had been written up, which I never had been. So, being armed with the company’s employee handbook, I was able to use their rules against them… specifically… “A manager is speak with the employee and follow-up with a written plan on how to resolve the situation”, and “an employee on written warning is not to receive bonuses, raises, or promotions during the write up time period.”
          —– Well… I received bonuses the entire year, which proves that I was not written up.

          I want you to know that if you did nothing wrong and was forced to resign that you do have a chance to obtain unemployment. Do not give up. Fight for your rights! Also, keep your emails, and other documentation that shows you were doing a good job.

          Merry Christmas!!!

  16. My current employer is laying me off. I will get my vacation pay and severance for my time at the company. When can I apply for and start receiving unemployment payments

    1. If the severance pay is a lump sum, you can apply immediately. If it’s spread over a fixed period, please apply towards the end of it.

      You may call the Unemployment Office in your state for further information.

  17. I worked in Colorado from may till December. I left in December and stated working in Florida at the end of march at the same company and same job. In Florida they eliminated my position due to lack of business.. in Florida I work April may june july but can not file for this work till October due to the fiscal year restarting in OCT. I had to file my claim in Colorado not Florida for only the time I WORKED IN COLORADO. Is the lay off in Florida my reason for losing my job? I mean IT IS but is that how the system works?

    1. You must ideally be filing from the state where your last employment was based.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further clarification.

  18. I lived in Leadville and worked in VAIL. I crashed my SUV trying to get to work. The road between Leadville and vail is WAY dangerous and as I don’t know how to drive in the snow. I flipped it into a river and I was scared if I started driving my replacement back and fourth I was going to do it again and maybe die this time. I had to go back to Alabama for the winter and leave my job. do I qualify

    1. Generally, quitting the job voluntarily will not qualify. However, you seem to be leaving for a valid reason and there are exceptions in the law.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to confirm.

  19. Just received a call from the owner of the company and was given to choices; Resign or get fired. I have been with the CO for 35.5 years and my territory if up 42% to date. Can I get unemployment if I resign ??

    1. Please do not resign as since you would not be eligible. UI benefits are only extended to those who lose their job due to involuntary reasons such as lay offs.

  20. I just went to work today and found out that my department is being eliminated May 28th. I just started this job in February 2016. I was unemployed December 2015 through mid February 2016. I have made more than $2500 in the last 4 quarters. Do I qualify for unemployment?

  21. If my job fires me due to refusing to get daycare will I be eligible? I don’t trust anyone to watch my 4 and a half month old daughter and my boss keeps telling me to find child care because they dont want me sitting at home doing nothing.

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

  22. I am being bullied at work. I recently moved positions within the company and the COO is trying to push me out of the company. Yesterday he cut my salary in 1/2. I have been with the company 5.5 years and have had great annual reviews and I have letters from clients and the owner about how great my work has been. The difference in pay is so significant (it should be illegal) and it’s below the last person who held the same position (and only worked at the company for 1.5 years) and it’s well below the industry average.
    It’s such an unhealthy environment I would like to quit for my health and sanity, but am worried that I won’t be able to pay my bills. If I quit can I get unemployment for being bullied in the workplace?
    If yes, what sort of proof should I have collected regarding the situation. I have paperwork regarding my “above average” work performance, is that enough?
    I am actively applying for other jobs, but my current situation is so unhealthy I truly just need to get out of the environment.

    1. Yes, you can be eligible to apply and receive Unemployment Insurance if you quit due to hostile work environment.

      If your employer disputes your claim when you apply, be ready with supporting documents.

  23. ive been a supervisor at a grocery store for 3 years, i was diag nosed with hep-c and my insurance does not cover the cost. i was put on a trial dose of interferon that made me crAzy and sick, everyone said i was not myself.. i lost my son this year in a car acident and wS already having emotional problems. any i thought i was gonna die so i stole some money to try and pay for medication, i did return the money but amd currently being prosecuted.. guess im not eligible huh?

    1. I am sorry to hear about your situation. Please call the Unemployment Office in your state to check further about your eligibility.

  24. I recently broke my leg and have to be off work. Prior I was working 32 hours a week. Can I get 6 weeks of unemployment?

  25. My company’s numbers were very low and we all feared a lay off. Out of the blue yesterday I was called into office and let go. When I asked why they said they were not legally bound to tell me why. I had never even been written up or anything FOR anything ! Can I collect unemployment?

    1. Yes, you can collect UC benefits as long as you were laid off due to involuntary reasons.

      Please consider applying.

  26. I have been working at this company for over a year now. I only work 32 hours a week. Due to the blizzard last week, I couldn’t make it into work. Im 12 weeks pregnant with twins and wasn’t willing to risk my life as well as theirs in a rear wheel drive SUV with no 4 wheel drive. I have recently found out that I am being pushed from my job and in 2 weeks will only have one shift a week. Due to having a previous broken back and carrying my twins, I was going to have to quit as it is currently difficult for me to do the physical demands of my job. If I quit, will I be eligible?

    1. Unfortunately, personal reasons such as pregnancy is not considered. You will not qualify for UI benefits if you quit voluntarily.

  27. Laid off from ten year job, took a part time position that turned into full time. Business isn’t comfortable, no health benefits, only a month. Would I be able file back on my previous lay off?

  28. Can you get unemployment if you had been a temp worker? Our contracts are for a year then when they are up we are out of jobs. So since that is no fault of ours would we get unemployment?

    1. Contracted workers are generally not eligible due to their obvious nature of work.

      Please inquire further with the Unemployment Office in your state.

  29. I have recently been off of work on a leave of absence. I have recently herniated disc Snd two bulging discs in my neck. I have numbness and pain throughout my right arm. my work advised me that the best thing to do would be to resign and collect unemployment to which they would not deny me. would I be able to collect unemployment since I am NOT able to fully use my right arm right now and it makes it hard for me to do a lot of turning of my neck using multiple screens and having major migraines throughout the day. I answer phones do scanning typing I need both of my arms to do so. I am just concerned because my work is asking me to resign temporarily and saying that I should be able to collect unemployment temporarily until I am able to return 100% back to work for them. and they are the ones who are telling me that I should be able to receive unemployment and that they wouldn’t deny or fight it. I have all medical documents MRIs notes, excuses and plans of actions of what we will be doing over the course of the next six to eight weeks. would I be able to file for unemployment temporarily. any help is greatly appreciated!

    1. To be able to apply and receive Unemployment Insurance, you must be able and available for work.

      Not sure if you will qualify due to current health condition. Please inquire further with the labor dept in your state.

  30. Hi there I just recently quit my job. I felt I was forced to quit my manager was always giving me a hard time for my doctors appt. or because of my grandmother health which who is now on a ventalater I tried talking to someone higher then her but is still didn’t go know where. Please need some advice

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

      If otherwise, please consider applying.

  31. I started a job five months ago, working half time, while the friend that recruited me for the job was working the other halftime. That person has since been promoted to a different job with flexible hours, and I now share the job with someone else. Last week my boss announced that he was changing the job from 2 halftime positions to one full-time position. He said we could both apply for the job, i.e. one would end up with a full-time job and one with no job. I cannot work full-time due to family/children constraints, so I am declining to interview for the full-time job. Will I be eligible for unemployment? Thank you.

  32. I had back surgery and was on short term disability for 3 months. Now my job says I have used up all my fmla. And they say if I cant perform the job anymore I will have to resign. Can I collect unemployment, if they do resign me from my job.

    1. You may not be eligible since benefits are only extended to those who are laid off due to involuntary reasons.

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

  33. My boss announced 5 days ago he is retiring because of the price of oil currently and its decline. He is in oil and gas and i am his accountant. He told me I have work for 3 months, however just yesterday he decided to change my status from “employee” to “contract labor”. I need the money, and where I live there is no other position at all that is this specific to Oil and Gas. I will keep working as contract but can I claim unemployment in March for my last 12 years of being an employee?

  34. I left my Job last February for another job. The reason for my departure was due to a manager of the company who told me that it would be a “good Idea” if I started looking for another job because the other managers are looking for a way to fire me. An example that I can state was a computer glitch that was duplicating records and I was told not to worry then 2 weeks later I was written up for “padding” my numbers. I found another job and was just recently laid off and now the company I left for the new job is fighting unemployment is this something I should fight or just let it go?

    1. Well, if you think you were fired due to performance issues, you will not be able to claim.

      If it is for involuntary reasons, you can always claim and receive.

  35. I am working in a sexist environment. My management peers barge into my office and make sexist jokes and ignore my requests to leave. They ask me to do tasks like organize parties when my caseload far exceeds my peers. I have been very blunt in pointing out their inappropriate behavior. How do I document this to mane a successful unemployment claim on quitting for just cause?

    1. Please record all instances on misbehavior and create a dossier kind of document.

      You can also look for relief under various labor laws in your state.

  36. I live in Colorado. I was forced to resign from my current job do to several reasons.
    1. I am forced to stay home to care for a disabled family member.
    2. My job required long hours and too much stress which did dot allow me to spend the time necessary to properly care for the above mentioned family member.
    will I be eligible to apply for unemployment?

    Thank you!

  37. I recently quit my job of two years last week. Each anniversary date you earn a week of vacation. I only worked part time so mine was 20 hours per the employee handbook. My hire date was 10/7/2013 and my resignation date was 10-7-2015. Should my employer have paid me my vacation for my two year anniversary? Technically I made it an entire year even though I quit on my anniversary date, I earned it. She has not paid it out and she is fighting me on it.

    1. We do not have any information on the labor laws in your state.

      Please contact the local labor office for further details.

  38. If I worked in another state but just moved to Colorado and cannot find work yet, can I apply for unemployment in Colorado?

  39. I currently work as a para in a classroom (not the teacher), but recently have been injured personally by many students and am often cursed out in a violent manor… physically and mentally this job has became a nightmare to handle, am I able to collect unemployment if I choose to leave my job based on the injuries I have gotten. Yes I have been to workman’s comp for treatment on one of the bites but not all bruises and bites (although I do have photos to show the injuries)

    1. Yes, you can claim benefits if you’re able to prove in case of a dispute. Please consider applying for UI benefits.

      You can also consider lodging a complaint with law enforcement agencies.

    1. Contracted employees are generally not eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits.

      Please inquire further with the labor dept in your state.

  40. I am not being certified for the state job i have. i was hired by a person who tendered her resignation before i started. i had no boss for the first three months i worked, and never received training or guidance (i didn’t even get a job description for the first six months). my new boss brought many of the skills i was hired to provide, thus my role came in conflict with that of my new boss. I am not being terminated for cause but the form letter the state has proposed makes it sound like it is for cause. if i resign in lieu of the letter of termination, can i receive unemployment?

  41. I currently work in Afghanistan. I have been shot at, took incoming rockets and mortars, and am in the area of open pit burning. If I leave my job for health/ life threatening reasons am I eligible for unemployment ? Any answers will be greatly appreciated.. Thanks

    1. You should be, since it is life threatening.

      Please inquire with the labor dept in your state as you’re working in a foreign country.

  42. I was employed full time until July 2013 when I quit then took a part time job that ended on December 1st. I am currently unemployed and looking for work in my field. Am I eligible to collect unemployment compensation?


  43. if i last worked january 2012 and filed a claim march of 2012 and haven’t ever recevied a payment because i was unaware how once i learned my status on my claim was exhuasted

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