FAQs

We know that for many, these are uncertain and challenging times, and we are constantly working to make it easier for you to get the answers you need.

This page includes answers to many of the questions we are most frequently asked. If your question is not answered here, try using the search function at the top of this page, or visit our main page at cdle.colorado.gov and ask our Virtual Assistant. You can also call our customer service line 24 hours a day at 303-318-9000,
or 1-800-388-5515 if you are located outside the Denver metro area.

En Espanol:
Denver Metro: 303-318-9333 / Toll-Free: 1-866-422-0402

Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TTD):
Denver Metro: 303-318-9016 / Toll Free: 1-800-894-7730

Filing a Claim

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

Generally speaking, if you are unemployed or are working fewer than 32 hours a week and earning less than the weekly amount that unemployment benefits pay, you can file a claim for unemployment benefits.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there are additional benefits available for those who are self-employed, independent contractors, or gig workers. Please visit our Eligibility page for more information.

How do I file a claim for unemployment benefits?

To file a claim for unemployment benefits, please visit our File a Claim page.

If you have already opened a claim and need to reopen your claim or file for additional benefits you can visit the File a Claim page to learn more.
 

How much does unemployment pay?

Unemployment benefits are approximately 55 percent of a person's average weekly wage over a 12-month time period. Click here to estimate your potential payments. The maximum benefit amount available is $700 per week.

Are tips included in the calculation of my wages for unemployment benefits?

Tips are considered wages and should be included in your wages reported by your employer. When you file a claim, we will send you a notice that details your reported wages. Review the information carefully and follow the instructions if it is incorrect. Report your rate of pay including your hourly rate plus average tips. You can calculate that hourly, daily, or weekly, whichever makes the most sense based on your job.

Can I collect 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

Are you a Colorado election judge currently receiving unemployment insurance? 

Serving as an election judge in Colorado is a paid position, so wages earned as an election judge could impact either your eligibility for unemployment insurance benefit or the amount of your benefit payment. As each individual's circumstances are different and wages for election judges are determined by counties, it is important you understand how any income earned as an election judge could impact your eligibility for unemployment benefits. 

What is the law?
Recent Colorado legislation determined that the wages earned as a Colorado election judge are reportable based on a benchmark set by federal law. Therefore, according to federal Unemployment Compensation law, Colorado election judges may earn up to $1000 in a calendar year before their unemployment benefit is impacted. 


What does that mean for me? 
If you’re receiving unemployment insurance benefits and are working as an election judge in Colorado, up to the first $1000 of your election judge wages (pre-tax) are not reportable as wages to the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment (CDLE). 


What do I need to do?
Keep track of all the income you receive while working as an election judge. Upon requesting payment via your MyUI+ account, DO NOT report to CDLE the first $999 that you earn in this position; ONLY report the income to CDLE after you have made $1000 or more. CDLE will then determine how it will affect your weekly benefit payment. 


How do I report my wages? 
To learn more about calculating wages:

Visit Working and Collecting
 


What resources will help me find additional employment? 
Make sure you are registered with a Colorado Workforce Center. Workforce Centers provide free access to computer resources, career counseling, resume writing, interview skills building, job-search strategies, training opportunities, and potential job connections. Find a workforce center at cdle.colorado.gov/wfc

Download Colorado Election Judge Fact Sheet      


The CDLE website offers resources, services, and programs to assist you in your career search and development.

Find A Job

 

After You've Filed

How long will it take to receive my benefits?

It can take up to 12 weeks to completely process a claim, depending on how many employers are involved.

I filed a claim. What happens now?

You will receive paperwork in the mail showing your income history and potential benefits in the base period of your claim. If you agree with the document, no further action is required. If you disagree with the reported earnings, please fill out the back of the form, attach proof, and return it to the address provided.

To receive benefit payments, you must request them weekly via your MyUI+ account or by phone at 303-813-2800 or 1-888-550-2800. By default, you will receive benefit payments on a U.S. Bank debit card. If you prefer to receive benefits via direct deposit, you can make that change online in your MyUI+ account.

How can I manage my existing claim?

To manage your existing claim, or to reopen your claim, please visit our File a Claim Page

How do I request payments and when will I receive them?

Payment is issued after your claim is processed and it is determined you qualify for benefits. The first payment you may receive is postponed by one week's worth of payment, called the waiting week. Basically, every claimant who qualifies for unemployment serves an unpaid "waiting week" that begins the first week they become eligible to receive benefits.

In order to be paid benefits, you must request payment every week. If you are eligible for benefits, payment will either be deposited to a designated bank account via direct deposit or onto a ReliaCard debit card. After claim processing, payment may take two to three business days to receive from the time you submit your payment request. Request payment online within your MyUI+ account or by phone. Here are all the ways to contact us.

You are responsible for knowing when you are scheduled to request payment. Requesting payment too early or late will result in your claim being closed. If this occurs, you must reopen your claim before future benefits can be paid.


Requesting Your Payments
Request your payments every week online through MyUI+ or by telephone 303-813-2800 or 1-888-550-2800 (outside Denver-metro area).

Request Payment


Receiving Your Payments
There are two methods of receiving your unemployment benefit payments: Direct Deposit or a Prepaid Debit Card.
 

What payment method is best, direct deposit or a prepaid debit card?

Prepaid Debit Card Fees
You may have to pay fees when using your U.S. Bank ReliaCard. which are deducted from your benefit payments. You can find all the details you will need to know about the fees and services here or at usbankreliacard.com. To avoid paying fees, use a U.S. Bank or MoneyPass ATM to withdraw money from your debit card account or get the fund balance. This service is free. Find the nearest ATM at locations.usbank.com or www.MoneyPass.com.

 

Direct Deposit
You can avoid debit card fees by having your benefit payments deposited directly to your checking or savings account. To change your payment method, log into MyUI+. Depending on the number of claims on your account, you'll either go to "Manage Claimant Account" and then "Payment History" or to "View and Maintain Account Information" and then "Payment Method Options and Tax Information."
 

I've exhausted my regular unemployment benefits. How can I extend my benefits?

Colorado provides up to 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits. For those who exhaust those benefits, the Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program currently provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits. These benefits are not automatic and must be requested through your MyUI+ account.

If you exhaust both your regular and PEUC benefits, you may be eligible for up to 13 additional weeks of state extended benefits (SEB) if the state’s insured unemployment rate exceeds five percent. You do not need to take any action to access state extended benefits. We will automatically review your eligibility and notify you.

Learn More About Extended Benefits

What happens if I exhaust all available benefits?

If you’ve exhausted your eligibility for unemployment benefits under all the available programs, there are a number of additional resources available through other state and local agencies, including programs to assist with rent, food, and medical expenses. For more information, please visit our Assistance Programs page.

I’ve lost my US Bank debit card. How can I get a replacement card?

To get a new card, please contact US Bank at 855-279-1678 or complete and submit the form below.

U.S. Bank Form

COVID-19 Benefits

What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, is a federal program which provides up to 50 weeks of unemployment benefits to those who would otherwise not be eligible for regular benefits, including those who are self-employed, independent contractors, or gig workers.

In order to qualify for PUA benefits, you must not be able to receive any type of unemployment benefit from any state. For example, those who are self-employed/business owners, independent contractors, 1099 and other gig-economy workers, and sole proprietors who do not pay unemployment premiums on their own income are generally not able to receive unemployment benefits. This is also true for employees of some nonprofit religious organizations that choose not to pay unemployment premiums.

PUA benefits are calculated based on your income from your most recent federal income tax return. The minimum weekly benefit amount is $223 and the maximum weekly benefit is $618.

The PUA program was established by the CARES Act in 2020. The Continuing Assistance Act provided for up to 11 additional weeks of PUA eligibility, for a total of 50 weeks. These additional 11 weeks can only be paid out for benefit weeks after 12/27/20.

The American Rescue Plan further extended these benefits for an additional 29 weeks for a total of 79 weeks. These additional weeks can only be paid out for benefit weeks after 3/13/21 and through the week ending September 4, 2021.

To file a claim for PUA benefits, visit our File a Claim page.

What is Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)?

The federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program was established by the CARES Act in 2020 to provide an additional 13 weeks of regular state unemployment benefits for those who exhaust the standard 26 weeks.

The Continuing Assistance Act provided for up to an additional 11 weeks of PEUC eligibility, for a total of 24 weeks. These additional 11 weeks can only be paid out for benefit weeks after 12/27/20.

The American Rescue Plan further extended these benefits for an additional 29 weeks. These additional weeks can only be paid out through the week ending September 4, 2021. The PEUC program has now ended.

Learn More About Extended Benefits

What is Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)?

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program was established by the CARES Act in 2020 and provided an additional $600 weekly benefit to unemployment claimants for the weeks beginning March 29, 2020 and ending July 31, 2020.

The Continuing Assistance Act reestablished the FPUC program, and provides for an additional $300 weekly benefit to unemployment claimants for 11 weeks beginning December 26, 2020 and ending March 13, 2021.

The American Rescue Plan further extended the FPUC program and provides for an additional $300 weekly benefit to unemployment claimants through the week ending September 4, 2021.

Learn More About Extended Benefits

What is Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)?

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) was a federal program providing supplemental benefit payments to Americans who are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The LWA program has concluded. For more information, visit cdle.colorado.gov/lwa.

Am I required to look for work while on unemployment benefits?

Yes. While work search requirements were temporarily suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, that suspension has been lifted. You are required to complete work-search activities that are meant to help you return to work.

While you do not have to submit proof of your work search activities, you should keep these records on file for two years in case you are selected for an audit.

For more information on work search requirements, check out our How-To Video or visit our Eligibility page.

What should I know before reopening my claim?
  • The interface for reopening your previous claim is the same as for filing a new claim. Even if it looks like you are filing a new claim, please continue all the way through. After you enter your information, the system will find your previous claim.
     
  • You must tell us if you stopped working for any employer since the last time you requested payment.
     
  • Tell us even if you are expecting to go back to work again.
     
  • Tell us even if it is the same employer as when you filed your original claim.
     
  • Tell us even if it is a new employer you have not told us about before.
     
  • If you filed a claim within the past 12 months, then returned to your previous employer, and now need to reopen your claim, answer YES when the system asks, “Did you work and leave a job that you need to tell us about?"
What happens after I reopen my claim?

After you reopen your claim, you must request payment weekly in order to receive your benefits. Your confirmation message will let you know when to request payment the first time. Your weekly benefit amount will remain the same as it was when you last requested payment.

Reopen Your Claim

 

Other Assistance and Resources

I need help affording rent, food, healthcare, or other expenses. What resources are available?

For a list of available assistance programs and other resources, please visit our Assistance Programs page.