Do you know your Colorado Unemployment Rights?
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. The 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.
- 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 www.connectingcolorado.com 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 https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/YourGuidetoUnemploymentBenefits.pdf. 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 https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle 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.
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 www.connectingcolorado.com 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 https://myui.coworkforce.com/Registration 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.
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.
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.).
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 https://myui.coworkforce.com/Registration or CUBLine Online at www.coloradoui.gov/payment 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.
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 https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/forms-and-publications
The presiding agency that handles Colorado unemployment is listed below with the necessary contact information.
Colorado Unemployment Information
Labor & Employment
P.O. Box 400
Denver, CO 80201-0400