DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is working hard to administer unemployment benefits to thousands struggling during the pandemic as the Phase Two rollout of the state’s new benefits system begins.
Department spokesperson Jessica Hudgins Smith tells FOX31 the CDLE has paid out nearly $500 million in benefits to 180,000 people since the new system launched.
One of the most common complaints from those who need assistance is that they can’t get through to the call center.
Unemployed chef Frederick Anthony tells the Problem Solvers, “With restaurants shutting down and opening up on a limited basis, I can’t find work.”
CDLE says help is on the way for anyone experiencing delays.
As the phased-in rollout of the extended benefits of the Continued Assistance Act continues, additional call center agents are being added to the already huge 500-member staff. Online resources are being updated and expanded to prevent claimants from having to experience long hold times, and a special online form is now available to handle accounts placed on a hold to speed along the process of unlocking those accounts.
CDLE has also intensified efforts to crack down on unemployment benefits fraud.
Hudgins-Smith provided the following statement to FOX31:
“After completing the “Submit a Fraud Report” form, the individual may not receive a follow up call from CDLE. While the current volume of fraud reports prevents us from following up individually on every report, our fraud investigators are taking immediate steps to close each fraudulent claim. Since the start of the pandemic, we have tripled the size of our criminal investigative team, with another set of hiring happening now. We understand how unsettling this experience can be. We take any fraud seriously and work daily with law enforcement and other agencies to investigate and prosecute this behavior.”