Colorado Unemployment Benefits

Maroon Bells Wilderness, Colorado
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If Colorado workers are laid off from their jobs, they are eligible to receive unemployment benefits for six months from the state. In order to qualify for unemployment, residents must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants have become unemployed through no fault of their own.
  • Applicants are U.S. citizens or legal residents.
  • Applicants are ready and willing to accept work.
  • Applicants must have earned at least $2,500 in wages.

Generally, applicants are not eligible for unemployment if they have been fired from a job for misconduct. The Colorado Department of Labor & Employment will contact former employers to ask about the circumstances of the dismissal. However, applicants may appeal decisions if they disagree with the employer's verdict.

How to File

To apply for unemployment online, visit the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment website.

Unemployment Claims

The amount of unemployment claims is calculated on a quarterly basis. In some cases, waiting to file until the next quarter may be beneficial if pay increased dramatically over the course of a year. In most cases, it will not make a big enough difference to worry about.

There is a one-week waiting period after applying for unemployment before applicants receive their first payment. After that, if the claim is approved, unemployment benefits are paid weekly.

Employees who receive severance pay will also face a delay in receiving unemployment. Paid sick leave and paid vacation time may also delay eligibility for unemployment insurance. However, filing before you're eligible does not affect your claim. Filing immediately after losing a job will allow the unemployment office to calculate your eligibility.

Payment Methods

The Colorado Department of Labor & Employment no longer issues paper checks. The department will issue unemployment payments on a prepaid debit card, or unemployment payments can be directly deposited into a checking or savings account. The default choice is the debit card unless direct deposit is specified in the application.

What About Taxes?

Unemployment income is taxable income. At the end of the year, you will receive a 1099G with income listed. Applicants can choose to withhold federal income taxes from unemployment or have taxes calculated at the end of the year on a tax return. 

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