How to Apply for Unemployment in Colorado

by Dana George | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on March 26, 2020

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It is predicted that more Coloradans will lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. If you're one of them, this is how to file for unemployment.

It is predicted that more Coloradans will lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. If you're one of them, this is how to file for unemployment. 

Many Americans have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding financial stress to a difficult situation. If you find yourself out of work in Colorado, unemployment benefits are available to see you through this difficult period.

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

In order to receive unemployment benefits, you must be without a job due to no fault of your own and you must be actively seeking work.

You must also have earned at least $2,500 during the standard base period. A base period is defined as the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before your claim. 

If you did not earn enough during the standard base period you may qualify using an alternative base period, defined as the last four completed calendar quarters prior to the date of application. 

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

You can file your claim by phone (1-800-388-5515) or online, but be aware that the call center and website are experiencing unprecedented numbers of inquiries.

As a result, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is restricting online access according to the filer's name. To file your unemployment claim online:

  • If your name begins with the letters A through M, you can file on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, or after noon on Saturday. 
  • If your name begins with the letters N through Z you can file on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or before noon on Saturday. 

You will need to provide personal information such as your Social Security number and address. You will also need to submit your work history for the past 18 months, including details of your employment and the reason you are no longer working.

How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits? 

Colorado weekly benefits range from $25 to $561, and this Claims Benefit Estimator can help you determine how much your unemployment benefit payments might be.

Most claims are calculated by dividing the wages earned in the highest two consecutive quarters by 26 to give a weekly wage, which is then multiplied by 60%. If your wages from your highest two consecutive quarters were $12,000, your unemployment benefit would be $277 per week. 

If you are approved, the money can be deposited directly into your bank account every two weeks or paid to a state prepaid debit card.

How long can I collect unemployment benefits?  

A new executive order has extended the maximum duration to 39 weeks, up from 26 weeks. The order also eliminates the traditional one-week waiting period. However, the CARES Act extends the benefit period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.

It could take up to six weeks to process your claim, during which time you will still need to register with your local workforce center and request payment every two weeks.

What if my unemployment claim is denied?

If you are denied unemployment benefits, you can submit an appeal in writing. You have 20 calendar days from when the denial was mailed to do so. A hearing will be scheduled that you can join by phone or in person during which the decision will be reviewed.

These are tough financial times for many. If you do lose your job, don't lose hope. COVID-19 is sure to pass and job opportunities are sure to reappear. Until that time, unemployment benefits can help you get by.

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