Eligibility

About Your Eligibility

While you are receiving benefit payments, you must maintain your eligibility. We may audit your records for up to two years from the start of your claim to check that you are meeting all eligibility requirements.


You are eligible for regular unemployment benefits if you:

  • Are (or were) a traditional employee whose employer takes taxes out of your paychecks and reports your income on a W-2 tax form.
     
  • Earned at least $2,500 in wages in Colorado from January through December 2019 or from April 2019 through March 2020.
     
  • If you worked only outside of Colorado during those time frames, you will have to file a claim in the state you worked.
     
  • Are currently unemployed or are working fewer than 32 hours a week and earning less than the weekly amount that unemployment benefits pay.
     
  • Are able to work and available to work.


You are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits if you:

  • Are (or were) self-employed, an independent contractor, a gig worker, or other non-traditional worker with no W-2 wages.
     
  • Are not eligible to receive regular unemployment benefits in any state.
     
  • Are able to work and available to work.

Work Search Requirements

In order to maintain your eligibility for benefits, you must complete regular work search activities that are meant to help you return to work. While you are not required to submit records of your work search activities, you must document your efforts and save those records, because your claim may be audited and we may request proof of your work-search activities at any time up to two years from the start of your claim.

There is not a minimum requirement, but the more work search activities you complete, the sooner you are likely to return to work. We recommend that you complete at least 5 work-search activities per week.

Work Search For Regular Unemployment

Work search can and should include a mixture of activities, including contacting potential employers, completing applications, and interviewing for jobs.


What is a valid work-search?

A valid work search means you have completed specific work-search activities that may lead to a new job and that can be verified by the Division of Unemployment Insurance. Various factors are considered when determining if the work you are seeking is suitable including, but not limited to, rate of pay, prior experience, and length of unemployment.

    For more information on work search activities, see our flyer What is a Work-Search Activity?

    Here are some examples of acceptable work search activities:
    • Applying for a job for which you are reasonably qualified.
       
    • Interviewing for a job for which you are reasonably qualified.
       
    • Taking an exam required as part of the application process for a new job for which you are reasonably qualified.
       
    • Contacting an employer, who you reasonably believe may have available suitable work, to inquire as to whether the employer is hiring.
       
    • Being referred to a job by a state workforce center or other entity which provides similar services.
       
    • Adding a resume to an online job board.
       
    • Engaging in documented use of online career tools.
       
    • Participating in reemployment services at a state workforce center or other location where such similar services are provided.
       
    • Participating in state-sponsored or other professional job-related education or skills development.
       
    • Creating a user profile on a professional networking website.
       
    • Participating in networking events related to a job or occupation for which you are reasonably qualified.

    Work Search for Pandemic Unemployment

    Work search can and should include a mixture of activities, including contacting businesses or potential clients, submitting proposals, and/or interviewing for jobs.

    Work Search for Pandemic Unemployment

    What is a valid work-search?

    You must follow a course of action designed to result in a prompt return to work. Here are some examples of acceptable work search activities:

    • If you are self employed or a business owner:
       
    • Documented efforts to obtain new or additional clients for your business.
       
    • Documented efforts to expand your business beyond the services typically performed.
       
    • Documented efforts to market your business to new, reasonably available customers.


    If you perform work for an online platform:

    • Establish an account with another online platform for the purpose of seeking work with that platform.
       
    • Apply for work with another online platform for which the individual may reasonably be qualified.
       
    • Any individual may also complete an activity listed for regular unemployment claimants to demonstrate an active search for work.

    Documenting Your Work Search
    For each work-search activity, you must be able to provide proof by documenting the following:
    • Employer or business contact information, including employer or business name, address, phone number, email address.
       
    • Name and title of person contacted.
       
    • Documentation of use of an online career tool.
       
    • Confirmation of an online job board submission.
       
    • Networking event name and location.
       
    • Specifics of job-related education or other skills development activity.
       
    • Reemployment service in which you participated.
       
    • What action you took.
       
    • How you applied for the position.
       
    • The type of work you were looking for.
       
    • The person you contacted, with a telephone number, email address or other reliable contact information

    You can use this example spread sheet to track your work search activities.

    Other Eligibility Requirements
    In order to receive benefit payments, you must:
    • Request payment on schedule as instructed.
       
    • Be physically and mentally able to work.
       
    • Be willing to accept suitable work.
       
    • Be available to begin work immediately if a job is offered.
       
    • Tell the truth when requesting payment of benefits.
       
    • Report all hours you worked and gross wages you earned each time you request payment. Even if it is one dollar earned or one hour worked, you must report it.
       
    • Actively seek work and keep verifiable information about your work-search activities. We recommend that you complete at least 5 work-search activities each week.
       
    • In instructed, register with a workforce center at www.connectingcolorado.com or in person at your local workforce center if they are accepting in-person customers.
    Training

    Training is an important step to help you become employed. If you are in any training, you may qualify for a reduction in the number of work-search activities you are required to make each week. To assess whether or not you qualify and to find out about training, contact your local workforce center. If your training is not approved, please contact us.

    Job Attached or Union Attached

    Job attached means that you are expected to return to your most recent employer after a separation of up to 16 weeks. If you are job attached, your work-search requirements may be waived, but you must be available to return to work during this time frame. Union attached is the same except the union must find work for you within 16 weeks.

    If your work-search requirements are not waived, keep in mind, we may conduct an audit of your claim up to two years from the start of your claim and you may be asked to provide your work-search documentation at that time. If you are unable to produce your work-search documents with all requirements met, you may be denied unemployment and may have to pay back any benefits already received for those weeks.

    Returning to Work

    When you return to full-time work, be sure to request your final weeks of unemployment benefits and report any hours and earnings. You do not need to call us to tell us that you found full-time work, just simply stop requesting payments. Request payment for weeks you are unemployed or working fewer than 32 hours, then stop.

    Eligibility FAQs
    Am I eligible for unemployment benefits while working part time?

    You may be eligible to collect partial benefits if you are working fewer than 32 hours per week. However, you must continue to look for work and meet your eligibility requirements. When you work, we can pay part of your weekly benefits, but you must have earned less than the weekly benefit amount. The law states that you can earn up to 25 percent of your weekly benefit amount and still be paid your full benefit payment. After that, we must reduce your benefit payment by one dollar for each dollar you earn.

    Learn More

    Am I eligible to receive unemployment benefits if I currently have work authorization under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program?

    If you have valid work authorization, you may be eligible to receive benefits if you are not working or your hours have been reduced through no fault of your own.

    Am I eligible for benefits if my hours have been reduced, but I am still getting paid by my employer?

    You must be working fewer than 32 hours and earning less than the weekly amount unemployment may pay you to receive unemployment insurance benefits. If your earnings are also reduced, you may be able to receive partial unemployment benefits.

    What if I tested positive for COVID-19 and am quarantined, or have flu-like symptoms and am asked by my employer or a health official to self-quarantine?

    Typically, to receive regular unemployment benefits, you must be able and available to return to work for your employer. Employers in certain industries are now required to pay up to four days of sick leave. A federal law also went into effect on April 2, 2020 requiring many employers to pay sick time. Please check with your employer first.