Additional unemployment benefits available for qualified Coloradans

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COLORADO SPRINGS– On Monday, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment provided an online ‘town hall’ style update regarding unemployment due to COVID-19.

The CDLE reports more than 350,000 claims have been filed since March 15 and $500 million dollars have been paid in benefits.

In an effort to help Coloradans seeking unemployment, the CDLE has:

  • Begun taking Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims and paying benefits (since April 20)
  • Added a second call center for PUA claims
  • Begun paying Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) claims
  • Added a call back form to the website for claims and questions
  • Added a chatbox function on the website

Under the CARES Act, a new federal benefit program, an additional $600 a week will be given to those affected by COVID-19, called Pandemic Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, depending on if you are already receiving unemployment benefits.

If you are already receiving unemployment: an additional $600/week will be added (Pandemic Unemployment Compensation) on top of your regular benefit amount. This will be for all unemployment benefit recipients through July 25. No action is needed – as the funds will be automatically added to your weekly benefit.

If you are NOT receiving regular unemployment and you are the following, you may be eligible for the $600/week under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

This includes:

  • Sole proprietor who does not pay unemployment premiums
  • Business owner
  • Gig-economy worker
  • Freelancer
  • App-based worker (e.g. Uber, Lyft, Instacart)
  • Being issued a 1099 form to report income for tax purposes
  • Filing a Schedule C tax form to report income made and lost 

In addition, if you have been affected by COVID-19 in the following ways you may be eligible for additional funds:

  • Are an employee of a nonprofit church or religious organization that does not pay unemployment. NOTE: Some religious organizations may elect to pay unemployment and then you are a traditional employee.
  • Have been diagnosed with COVID-19. 
  • Have a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Are providing care to a household or family member. 
  • Have primary caregiving responsibility for a child or other person who is unable to attend school or another facility as a result of COVID-19. 
  • Are unable to reach the place of employment because you have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.
  • Were scheduled to start work and do not have a job as a result of COVID-19.
  • Have become the major support for a household because the head of the household died as a direct result of COVID-19.

If your employer is requiring you to return to you and you do not feel safe:

● Per Safer at Home Executive Order D 2020 044, no vulnerable individuals can be compelled by their employer to return to work if their work requires in person work near others.
● Employers must accommodate vulnerable individuals with remote work options, if the work can be done remotely.
● If you refuse to return to work due to unsatisfactory or hazardous working conditions based on your status as a member of a vulnerable group, you may continue to be eligible for benefits based on the risk to your health.
● If you refuse to return to work due to unsatisfactory or hazardous working conditions because you
reside with a person who is a member of a vulnerable group, you may continue to be eligible for
benefits based on the risk to the health of your co-inhabitant.
● If an employer requires work from an employee entitled to paid leave (due to illness or a
quarantine/isolation order) under the Colorado HELP Rules, that would be unlawful under those
rules, and should be reported to the contact information at the bottom of these FAQs.
● Any other possible violations of social distancing, or other health and safety orders, should be
reported to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration or County health officials. Click here for more information.

>>For more information on filing for an additional $600/week for pandemic unemployment compensation and assistance.

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