COLORADO, USA — Unprecedented numbers of Coloradans are trying to get unemployment benefits all at one time due to closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Colorado's Department of Labor says in the coming days, they expect 8,000 to 10,000 claims each day.
9Wants to Know reporter Jeremy Jojola took your questions to Angela Pfannenstiel, the unemployment insurance policy and communications manager for the state.
(Editor's note: Some answers have been edited for context and clarity.)
9NEWS: If someone is still getting paid, but they know they will lose their job or their pay in two weeks, when should they file? What if they already filed?
Pfannenstiel: A person can file an unemployment claim on the last day of work or anytime after that.
If a claim is already filed but the person is still working normally scheduled hours, benefits cannot be paid. The person should let us know when he or she stops working to start benefits.
9NEWS: What if someone still has a job, but that employer hasn’t paid them? What about people who are furloughed?
If an employee is working but the employer is not paying the employee as scheduled, file a wage claim here.
Anyone who is furloughed or temporarily laid off should file a claim here.
9NEWS: What are all the substitute teachers supposed to do, as some school districts aren’t paying them for this time?
Substitute teachers should file an unemployment claim. Unemployment staff will have to look at the circumstances for each individual teacher. If a teacher is not getting paid, he or she may qualify for unemployment.
9NEWS: Once someone files their claim, how long will it take for them to get funds, given the massive amount of people filing?
The Unemployment Insurance Division is developing temporary processes to pay benefits within two weeks.
9NEWS: If a business is closing temporarily due to the pandemic, which would be better for collecting unemployment: firing the employees, or telling them to not come in for a few weeks?
Temporarily laying off the employees is in the best interest of the employees and the employers to retain trained staff.
9NEWS: I’ve been laid off due to the virus but have been assured of my position when things start returning to normal. Will there be a classification for this situation?
Yes, file a claim and indicate you expect to return to work. This may be called ‘job-attached’ when you file a claim.
9NEWS: If a person works multiple jobs and they are “laid off”, do they file one claim or multiple claims?
File a single claim. A person is asked about all employers for whom he or she has worked in the last 18 months.
9NEWS: Is there relief for 1099/W9 employees?
Unfortunately, 1099 workers and independent contractors will likely not qualify for unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits are funded by premiums paid by employers based on employees’ wages. If the worker is a 1099 worker, he or she is generally not considered an employee so employers are not contributing premiums for coverage.
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