State to extend emergency unemployment benefits

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has announced the availability of up to seven additional weeks of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) for eligible individuals.  

On Nov. 21, President Bush signed legislation authorizing an additional seven weeks of EUC payments beginning the week of Nov. 23.  This legislation does not authorize for EUC benefit payments prior to this date. 

 The passage of initial EUC legislation last July provided eligible, unemployed individuals with up to 13 weeks of additional unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.  Prior to the passage of the new legislation on Nov. 21, many EUC claimants exhausted the initial amount of EUC benefits they were entitled to receive.  The new legislation does not authorize payment of EUC benefits for any weeks prior to Nov. 23, 2008, even though a claimant may have exhausted EUC benefits and requested payment for these weeks.

 The combination of both legislations provides eligible individuals with a total amount equal to the lesser of:

• 20 weeks of a claimant’s established weekly benefit amount on an initial, regular UI claim, or

•  Weeks equal to 80 percent of the maximum benefit amount on an initial, regular UI claim.

 The new legislation also provides potential eligibility for up to 13 weeks of additional EUC benefits for states that reach a total unemployment rate greater than 6 percent.  A state’s total unemployment rate is based on a three-month average.  Colorado does not qualify for the additional weeks at this time.  The three-month average for Colorado is 5.3 percent, using the months of August, September and October.  When the three-month average for Colorado exceeds 6 percent, Colorado will qualify for the additional 13 weeks of EUC benefits.

 CDLE plans to notify the households of approximately 25,000 original EUC recipients who are potentially entitled to the seven additional weeks of EUC.  Notification will be mailed in the second week of December.  Individuals are encouraged not to call the UI Program’s Customer Contact Center telephone numbers (local and toll free) as CDLE will take the initiative in contacting potentially eligible persons and providing additional filing instructions.

 Individuals who receive notification of potential eligibility for additional EUC benefits and who have not been requesting payment must reopen their EUC claim.  After receiving notification of potential eligibility for additional EUC benefits, individuals must call the Customer Contact Center at (888) 388-5515 to reopen an existing EUC claim.

 Individuals who filed a regular UI claim that is now expired or exhausted of benefits must file a new EUC application and may qualify for up to 20 weeks of EUC benefits. 

To file a new EUC application, call an automated, telephone-response system at (888) 563-4280, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or call the Customer Contact Center at the above telephone number.

 Additional information is available online at www.coworkforce.com.