Eligibility and Work Search Requirements


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.

Unemployment benefits are a temporary partial income replacement. Because the benefits are not long term, it will benefit you to look for new work and have a plan in place to be able to support yourself. Eligibility requirements include that 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 during a 12-month period of time called the "base period."
  • 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.

Estimate Your 
Unemployment Benefits

We will examine the separation from your most recent employer and any other employer(s) that you worked for during a predetermined 12-month period of time called the "base period." You must have earned at least $2,500 in wages to receive unemployment insurance benefits.

Use the Colorado Unemployment Insurance Benefits Estimator for an estimate of how much your benefits will be before you file a new unemployment insurance claim.


   UI Claimant Guide

Work Search Requirements

You must complete work-search activities that are meant to help you return to work. Work search can and should include a mixture of activities, including contacting potential employers, completing applications, and interviewing for jobs.You must document your efforts and save those records because you will be asked to report the activities you completed when you request payment each week. Your claim may be audited and your reported work-search activities will be verified at any time up to two years from the start of your claim. 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.



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?

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.


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

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.
  • As instructed, register for work online with Connecting Colorado or in person at your local workforce center if they are accepting in-person customers.

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

What is a Base Period?

A base period is a timeframe in which we review the amount of wages you earned to determine if you qualify for benefits. You must have earned $2,500 during a standard base period, which is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the start date of your claim. If you did not earn at least $2,500 during the standard base period, you may be eligible using an alternate base period (the last four completed calendar quarters before the start date of your claim). Visit the Qualifying for Benefits page for more information.

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 50 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. Visit the Working and Collecting page for more information.

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.