Do you know your Colorado Unemployment Rights?

  Last Verified: April 2017  

The state of Colorado offers a program to assist individuals who have recently become unemployed. The Unemployment Insurance Program (UI) was established to pay benefits to qualified individuals to temporarily assist with the burden of personal financial strain and lessen the Colorado unemployment rate. Seal_of_Colorado.svgThe UI Program has a profound effect on the local and statewide economy by maintaining a relatively consistent cash flow. The program is funded by employers throughout Colorado.

There are guidelines that must be met by a recently unemployed individual in the state of Colorado in order to qualify for the UI Program. The program is regulated by the Department of Labor and Employment/Unemployment Insurance Program.

Eligibility for UI in Colorado

•Claimant must earn at least $2,500 during the base period. The base period is defined as the first four of the preceding five finished calendar quarters before a claim is filed. The state will request the listed information from former employers to further verify eligibility.

unemployment base period

This chart shows the base period.

  • You must show that their unemployment is a result of a layoff or a reduction in hours and/or pay, not any fault of their own.
  • You must be able to work
  • You must be available to accept an offer for suitable employment. Suitable employment is a job you are trained to do at a reasonable salary
  • You must be a US citizen or legally authorized to work in the US

Each person must register online at or sign up at a local office for work search tools within the first week to begin receiving benefits.

Eligibility requirements along with detailed information about the UI benefit can be found by visiting This is an online guide that is worth reading prior to filing an unemployment claim in Colorado.

Filing a Claim

Filing a claim is made quick by visiting under the ‘Unemployment’ tab to complete the online claim process. Filing a claim online will allow a claimant to avoid any sort of long wait or delay without proper documentation that can occur when filing at a local workforce center. However, both methods of filing are acceptable.

The state of Colorado requires proof that any person 18 years and older are lawfully present in the United States to receive UI benefits. One of the following forms of identification is required to file a claim:

•Valid Colorado driver’s license or ID card.
•U.S. military identification card or a military dependent card.
•Native American tribal documentation.
•U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card
•Valid driver’s license or ID card from another state or Canada.
•U.S. Passport

After Filing a Claim

Once a claim is filed and being processed, a claimant is required to register at a local workforce center or register online at to gain access to resources to assist with finding work along with thousands of job openings throughout Colorado. Registration must take place within the first week that a claim is filed.

Claimants should also register with MyUI by visiting to personally track the status of a claim online. This site allows individuals to request benefit payments online.

Once a completed claim is filed and registration has taken place, claimants will receive a PIN in the mail. This PIN provides access to any unemployment benefits and services and should be kept in a secure location.

Extended Benefits

When unemployment is high, the state or federal government may authorize additional weeks of benefits. The maximum weeks of benefits you can receive is 26 currently and no programs are active that will allow additional weeks.

Requesting Biweekly Payments

Payment must be requested every two weeks, even during the time a claim is being processed. All eligibility requirements should be maintained during this time and the first request for payment should be the Sunday after the first two weeks following a claim.

Requesting a payment is sometimes called “filing a continuing claim.” You will request payment in the same way you filed the initial claim. Go to myui.coworkforce where you registered your account. Look for the request payment tab.

Once a claimant is cleared to receive UI benefits, the first week is a “waiting week” that goes unpaid. This is basically a postponement of the first payment by serving an unpaid week.

Maintaining Eligibility

The state requires benefit recipients retain the eligibility status shown when their claim was approved. To that end, when you request a payment every two weeks, the state requires you to answer certain questions. The DOL wants to know, among other things, whether:

  • You are able and available to work
  • You are making a good faith effort to find work
  • You have refused an offer of suitable employment
  • You have earned any wages or reportable income during the benefit weeks

If you earned wages during the two-week period between payment requests, you must report those wages during the period you earned them, not the period you received a paycheck.

If you refused work, be prepared to explain why you refused the offer and have proof the employment offer wasn’t suitable.

Part-time Work and Benefits

You may work part-time (less than 32 hours per week) and collect unemployment. If your wages equal or exceed your weekly benefit amount (WBA), you may not receive any unemployment payment that week.

You will have an earning allowance of 25% of your WBA. If you earn more than 25%, the DOL will deduct from your benefit payment on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

Job Search Requirement

The DOL requires that all benefit recipients make a good faith effort to find suitable employment while they are receiving benefits.

You will receive job search assistance when you register with the workforce center. You must make five job contacts per week. A “job contact” is a verifiable contact with someone in a position to influence hiring.

You should keep detailed records of your job searches. The DOL may at anytime review your job search efforts. Note who you spoke with, the date of the contact and the outcome (did you fill an application, have an interview, etc.).

Receiving Benefits

Payments can be requested through other avenues. Claimants can request direct deposit or a Debit/ATM card that is known as the CAP card distributed by Chase Bank. Activation of the card can be handled by calling 1-866-316-3925 (toll free).

Payments can be requested through MyUI at or CUBLine Online at or calling (303) 813-2800 (Denver-metro area) 1-888-550-2800 (outside Denver-metro area)

Reasons for Denial of Benefits

If you do not meet the monetary eligibility requirements, the DOL examiner will deny your claim. You will receive a letter notifying you of your wage determination outcome. You will have the opportunity to request a redetermination; however, you must be able to prove where the examiner made a mistake.

You can also request a redetermination regarding your WBA.

Even if you do meet the monetary requirements, the examiner may deny your claim based on the reasons for your separation from work.

Separation Issues

The broad issues behind denials based on separation from work are:

  • Whether you quit without a good cause connected to work, or
  • Whether you were dismissed for misconduct connected to work.

A “good cause” to quit will be something your employer did or failed to do to cause you to quit. Your employer may have transferred you to a location too far for you to reasonably commute daily. Your employer may have forced you to work in unsafe conditions. You must show you made an effort to remedy such situations before quitting.

You may have to quit for issues unrelated to work. You may be fleeing a domestic violence situation or may have a “stalker” who has found your place of employment. These are examples of substantial and compelling issues beyond your control.

“Misconduct” is defined generally as actions that show a disregard for your employer’s interests. Repeated violations of policy despite your employer warning you about your conduct is baseline misconduct. One-time violations of policy can also be misconduct, depending on the severity of the conduct.

However, the examiner may not consider some actions to be misconduct. If your employer fires you because of performance issues or a one-time showing of poor judgement, you may still be eligible for benefits.

What Happens When Your Claim is Denied

You may appeal any determination by the examiner. An appeal for a denied claim must be submitted within 20 calendar days from the date at the top of the Notice of Decision. The appeal can be submitted online by visiting MyUI or the appeal can be sent by mail by using the appeal form on the back of the Notice of Decision.

Learn more about filing an appeal at our page on Colorado unemployment appeals process.


All required forms and publications can be found at any local workforce center or online at

The presiding agency that handles Colorado unemployment is listed below with the necessary contact information.

Colorado Unemployment Information

Department of
Labor & Employment
UI Program
P.O. Box 400
Denver, CO 80201-0400


  • Dean Norlin

    I voluntarily quit or “resigned” my position after 2 years at small Colorado LLC for 2 reasons:
    #1. Physical stress and mental distress from the job.
    #2. Employer did not fulfill a non-contractual (verbal) agreement(s) for Salary/benefits which
    were predetermined prior to my employment and reaffirmed after taking the job.

    I’m not sure if I have any standing or merit in order to file a claim for unemployment benefits
    here in Colorado. Or any other action or options concerning elgibility, severance or separation pay. It’s not completely clear wheather I was fired, terminated, or I was forced to resign, or voluntarily

    • The better approach would have been to “address the grievance” with the employer by writing a letter to employer stating it has not fulfilled a non-contractual (verbal) agreement(s) for salary/benefits which were predetermined prior to employment and reaffirmed after taking the job. If you were fortunate, your employer would have fired you and you would be eligible for benefits.

      However, since you’ve already quit, that ship has sailed. Nonetheless, still apply for benefits – stating employer failed to fulfill the terms of the contract under which you were hired. Expect an initial denial, but a better evaluation of your case at appeal. Employers not living up to their promises generally are qualifying – but only after you’ve gone through the appeals process. Application, denial, appeal and decision can take several months time.

  • So am I to understand that my claim is going to be shut off as of March 15? My paperwork states that my claim is to carry me thru to August of 2015. I have been all over the internet and the state of CO looking for work only to be turned down time and time again because of my age, looks and lack of experience. Some of this I know is illegal, but try telling the employer that. They could care less. I go out every day looking for work. I apply for jobs that I have no Idea how to do them, but it’s a job. Due to where I live and the lack of income, I can barely pay rent and maybe two to three bills. I cannot afford gas in my vehicle and have to travel 40 miles every day. So what am I to do, appeal my unemployment and get a lawyer that will take my case pro-bono? If all of this comes to an end, I loose my trailer and all of my belongings. It’s back to living in my car somewhere where they won’t tow it away. This is how the United States treats its Senior Citizens. I know you don’t give two shits about all of this because it’s not your job to care but any help I can get is better than nothing. Even if you reply with a F U at least I know SOMEONE took the time to read it. All of the times I have tried to contact someone, I get no reply at all. Thanks

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