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Colorado’s rollout of new federal unemployment benefits is starting

Tamara Chuang
The Colorado Sun

Colorado’s labor department on Thursday began notifying the first group of out-of-work Coloradans that their federal unemployment benefits are getting ready to start. 

“We just started emailing about 230,000 people,” Cher Haavind, deputy director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, said in a message early Thursday afternoon. 

Members of a private Facebook group for the unemployed in Colorado also began sharing the emails from the Department of Labor. Those on pandemic aid who had not used up their benefits on Dec. 26 could reopen their claims on Monday, Feb. 1, to request a payment. The $300 weekly bonus, known as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, will be paid automatically, according to the email.

At least 170,000 people on unemployment saw their benefits end on Dec. 26, after the federal CARES Act relief programs ended. The new relief plan was signed by President Donald Trump a day later, but it took weeks to get Colorado’s new computer system up and running and programmed to disburse the new benefits. Those include 11 weeks of extended benefits to those who had exhausted their claims, plus paying an additional $300 per week for 11 weeks to anyone eligible for unemployment pay of at least $1 a week.

This story is being published partially online and in full in select print editions through an agreement with the Colorado Sun. Read the full story online at coloradosun.com.