UI FAQ and Resource Guide

Unemployment FAQs: Eligibility

Who can apply? Do I need to be a U.S. citizen?

Colorado law requires all persons 18 years and older to provide proof that they are lawfully present in the United States before receiving unemployment benefits. You must provide one of the following forms of identification (ID):

  • Valid Colorado driver's license or a valid Colorado ID card.

  • United States military ID card or a military dependent ID card.

  • United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card.

  • Native American tribal document.

  • Valid driver's license or ID card issued by another state or Canada. 

  • U.S. Passport

I currently have work authorization under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Am I eligible for UI benefits?

If you have valid work authorization, you may be eligible to receive benefits, if you separate from work through no fault of your own and are able, available, and actively seeking new work.

I plan to apply for legal permanent resident status, and I am eligible for unemployment benefits. Will this be considered under the public charge determination in my future immigration proceedings?

Receipt of unemployment benefits is not considered under the public charge rule. Only programs listed explicitly in the public charge rule are considered, alongside other factors such as age and education. Unemployment insurance is not considered income maintenance.

CLICK HERE for more information about the public charge rule and how it applies to Colorado’s immigrant community: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs/news/public-charge-rule-and-colorado-immigrants

Who is eligible for unemployment benefits?

To qualify for benefits, you must have lost your job through no fault of your own- for example, a layoff, reduction in hours, or reduction in pay not related to performance. CDLE will contact your previous employer(s) to help determine whether or not you qualify.


Employee Concerns: FAQ About UI Benefits

What if I wasn’t laid off? My salary/hours were reduced in lieu of getting laid off, but I’m above the state’s standard poverty level. Can I file a claim?

If you’re working fewer than 32 hours per week, and earning less than the weekly amount unemployment may pay, you can receive partial unemployment insurance benefits. Unemployment pays about 55% of your average weekly wage over a 12-month period of time.

What if I quit my job, or I was discharged for other reasons? Can I still apply for unemployment?

You have the right to leave a job for any reason, at any time. However, the circumstances of the separation will determine if and when you will receive benefits. If you were discharged for other reasons, you may still be eligible for benefits. 

A partial list of qualifying separation reasons includes, but is not limited to- 

  • Domestic violence, 

  • Personal harassment by the employer (not related to job performance), 

  • Hazardous working conditions, and 

  • Medical conditions. 

The CDLE will review the circumstances of your job separation to determine if you are eligible for benefits.

What if I’m considered a “job-attached” or “Union-attached” employee?

Job attached means that you are expected to return to your most recent employer after a brief separation of up to 16 weeks. If you are job attached, your requirements to seek work and to register with your local workforce center 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, 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 log at that time. If you are unable to produce your work-search log with all requirements, you may be denied unemployment and may have to pay back any benefits already received for those weeks.

Can I apply for UI benefits if my employer laid off all of their employees?

Yes. If you’re not working, you can file a claim- or reopen a claim filed in the last 12 months, (if money remains on the claim).

What if I was furloughed/laid off/not working because my employer was shut down due to COVID-19? Am I eligible to file?

Yes. You should file a claim online at https://www.colorado.gov/cdle/unemployment. Because of the volume of applications, CDLE is experiencing some issues on their site.

See our tips and tricks to help you figure out the best day/time to file your claim.  

I work in the airline/travel industry. What if I am furloughed? My employer said this is just an unpaid leave of absence until they can pay me again. I have a letter documenting that. Am I eligible to file a claim?

Yes. You should file a claim online at https://www.colorado.gov/cdle/unemployment

Getting Started: What to Expect When You Apply

What type of information will I need to apply for unemployment benefits?

You’ll need your full legal name, as it appears on your Social Security card, your address, SSN, and a valid ID. You will also need a complete employment and wage history for the past 18 months, including ALL of your employers’ names, addresses, and phone numbers from pay statements. You’ll also need documentation of any payments received/to be received as a result of termination (such as pay statements, or a letter of termination). 

Time-Saving Tip: If you have a lot of information to include on your work history, type it up before you start- then copy and paste it into the application!

How long does it take to complete the application?

Plan to spend at least half an hour to complete the application. The process may take longer, depending on how many others are using the system. See our tips below for the best times/days to apply. 

Which day should I file my claim?

If you need to file an unemployment claim and your last name begins with the letter A - M, file a claim on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, or after 12 noon on Saturday. 

If your name begins with N-Z, file on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or before noon on Saturday. 

When I tried to file, the system crashed. I lost all the information I had entered. Now I have to start from the beginning. How do I prevent this in the future?

While filing, Click the “Save & Finish Later” button often, and click “File a Claim” to return to the last saved page. Try to file during non-peak hours: evenings after 8pm, late nights, early mornings. Once you begin filing, your claim must be completed and submitted within 24 hours, or your information may be lost.

Remember: You must provide information about the reason you’re no longer working for ALL employers from the last 18 months. If you have a lot of info to include, type it up before you start and copy and paste into the application.

PLEASE NOTE: Daily system maintenance is from 6-8 pm, and unemployment application services are unavailable during maintenance hours. 


Is this application offered in different languages?

The online application is currently available in English only. If you need assistance in understanding the information on this website, and/or if you need interpretation services, please call 303-318-9000 or 1-800-388-5515 (outside Denver-metro area) during the appropriate business hours. 

What is the “waiting week?’ Do I have to wait a week to apply for unemployment?

You may apply as soon as your last day on the job. The unpaid “waiting week” has been suspended, to allow people to access benefits more quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

How long can I receive assistance? 

Per new orders from Governor Polis, the length of time you may receive unemployment has been extended from 26 weeks to 39 weeks. 

How soon can I start receiving unemployment benefits, after I apply?

You may see payments as soon as 6-10 days after a claim has been filed. 

I finished my application. Now what?

When you’re finished, click “Submit” once. When the claim is successfully submitted, you will receive a confirmation page and number. Once completed, you will receive a confirmation number. Your claim is not completed until you click “Submit.” 

PLEASE NOTE- We highly recommend that you print out the completed application for your records; it contains your confirmation number, and details on when and how to request payments. If you’re unable to print, save the document as a PDF or other file so you can refer to it in the future as needed.

Money Matters: Estimating Benefits, Reporting Income & More

I’ve filed my claim. How much will I get paid, if benefits are approved?

Typically, full-time employees receive 55% of their usual paycheck, up to a maximum amount. Want to find out how much you could receive? Check out this link to the CDLE UI Benefits Estimator-  http://www.coworkforce.com/uibEstimator/ 

I was laid off, with severance pay. Do I need to report my severance pay when applying for UI?

Yes. ALL income, even income related to a job separation (including sick pay, vacation pay, severance pay or any other form of compensation/benefits given by your employer when you leave) MUST be reported when you file your claim. 

Will working part-time affect my unemployment benefits?

You may be eligible to collect partial benefits if you are working fewer than 32 hours per week. When you work, CDLE can pay part of your weekly benefits, but you must have earned less than your 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. You will need to report your hours worked and gross earnings (pay before any withholdings, e.g., taxes or child support) information for each week when you request payment, so be sure to keep track of all of your hours and earnings for each week. 

PLEASE NOTE: Instead of waiting until you are paid, CDLE requires that you report the time and gross earnings when you request payment. Additionally, you must report when you no longer work for an employer. Contact the Customer Service Center at 303-318-9000 or 1-800-388-5515 (outside Denver-metro area) to report that you stopped working. 

COnfused? Here's How it works:
Your weekly benefit amount = $10025% of $100 = $25 
Week 1

You earn $20.
Because this is less than $25, you will receive your full benefit payment of $100

Week 2

You earn $35.
Because you earned $10 more than 25% of your weekly benefit amount ($25), you will receive $90 in benefit payments ($100 - $10 = $90)

Week 3You earn $110.
Because this is equal to or greater than your weekly benefit amount, you will receive $0 in benefit payments

What if I don’t report my hours correctly?

Failure to correctly report your hours and earnings may result in an overpayment, which you must pay back. If you receive benefits fraudulently, you must repay the benefits plus a 65 percent monetary penalty, and you may be disqualified from receiving future benefits. 

You may also be charged with a crime in state and/or federal court. 

What about my income from self-employment? Am I required to report it?

Self-employment is considered work. You will need to report your hours worked, and profits (or gross earnings) for the hours worked each week when you request payment. Be sure to keep track of all of your hours and earnings. You must also maintain your eligibility by meeting all the requirements in order to be paid benefits. 

What if I’m earning a commission from part-time work? Do I need to report my commissions?

Commissions are considered earnings. You need to report your hours worked, and estimate your commissions earned for each week you request payment. Keep track of all your hours and earned commissions. Instead of waiting until you are paid, we require that you report the estimated commissions as they are earned (when you request payment). You must also maintain your eligibility by meeting all the requirements in order to be paid benefits.

Do I have to pay taxes on my unemployment benefits payments? 

Yes. Your unemployment benefits are taxable by both the federal and state government. You can decide to have taxes automatically deducted from your payments or pay taxes later. You may change from one option to the other only once during your unemployment claim. This link offers more information about how your unemployment benefits are taxed.


Can I get paid sick leave to cover testing for COVID-19?

Click here to access the latest news on emergency paid sick leave during the COVID-19 pandemic-https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/news/state-labor-department-releases-emergency-rules-paid-sick-leave-covid-19

Resource Guide

There are a number of resources (listed below) that can help you navigate UI or the benefits provided by the CARES Act, and gain other types of assistance- but the first and foremost should be your state’s unemployment office website, as most of the COVID-19 economic relief funding will be distributed through state UI programs. You should also check with your local union hall for more resources offered to union members. 

Links to each state’s unemployment office website(s)

National Employment Law Project fact sheet on who qualifies for CARES Act aid

Helpful graphic provided by the AFL-CIO’s Department for Professional Employees on navigating COVID-19 UI

Resources for Workers Affected by COVID-19

City of Denver- Employment, Food, Job and Housing Assistance Resources


mPowered Colorado www.mpoweredcolorado.org (303) 233-2773
Contact: Oscar Torres Diaz (bilingual) [email protected]


United Way- Employment services, affordable housing connections, financial/ savings education, other education. Dial 211 or go to https://211colorado.communityos.org  to connect with assistance programs. 

Colorado Department of Human Services- Child care assistance, cash assistance, youth leaving penalty system, families needing help with care of elderly. www.colorado.gov/cdhs  

Salvation Army- Rent assistance, homeless shelter, holiday assistance. http://www.salvationarmy.org/  

CDLE Resources- www.coloradoui.gov/assistance  

Division of Labor- Administers laws and regulations governing wages, minimum wage, youth employment, certain union issues and grievances, and employment-related immigration laws. 303-318-8441 

Workers’ Compensation- Ensures the delivery of disability and medical benefits to injured workers. 303-318-8700 or 1-888-390-7936 (toll free) 

Labor Market Information- www.colmigateway.com  

Equal Opportunity- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal antidiscrimination laws. 1-800-669-4000 (toll free) 

Colorado Division of Civil Rights- Enforces Colorado anti-discrimination law. 303-894-2997 

Federal Resources- https://www.coronavirus.gov/ and https://www.cdc.gov/

If you believe that the Division of Unemployment Insurance discriminated against you on a claim, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 1-800-669-4000.

Rapid Response Information Calls


Offering Rapid Response Information Calls over the phone Tuesdays & Thursdays with two time options from 10am-10:30am & 2pm-2:30pm. Register today to receive the call in number & workshop access codes.

During these call in information sessions, you will be informed about services and benefits designed to help you get back on your feet, including:

  • Unemployment insurance

  • Connecting to career counseling and job search assistance

  • Resume preparation and interviewing skills workshops

These information calls are intended to help you overcome job loss/change. Register for a FREE information call today!

Please reach out with any questions to Denver's Rapid Response Team at [email protected]

Information provided by the Denver Area Labor Federation (DALF) in these materials is not to be considered legal advice or a guarantee of receipt of benefits and is provided as general information only. If you need legal advice for any specific situation, contact an attorney of your choice. The information in these materials is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date noted on the materials, but laws, regulations, executive orders, etc. are subject to change at any time due to the ever changing response to COVID-19 crisis.