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DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) announced Thursday that 127,393 initial unemployment claims have been filed over the past three weeks, with 46,065 claims filed the week ending April 4.

“We are working as quickly as we can to get these benefits into the hands of people who are in need during these unpredictable and unprecedented times,” said Joe Barela, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Top 5 industries with highest claims for the week ending March 21st:

  • Accommodation and Food Services: 12,411
  • Healthcare and Social Service: 2,560
  • Other Services: 1,672
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation: 1,415
  • Retail Trade: 1,014

Unemployment benefits paid:

  • Payment requests made since March 16: over 60,000
  • Benefits paid for week ending April 4: $29.8 Million
  • Average 2020 weekly benefits paid for weeks prior: $8.7 Million

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) enhances and extends benefits through these programs:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits for a new set of workers:

  • Gig workers
  • Individuals who are self-employed
  • Contract employees
  • Workers who cannot work from home while obeying a shelter order
  • Workers who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits
  • Workers who were directly impacted by COVID-19, such as needing to care for a child whose school is closed or a dependent who tested positive for COVID-19
  • This benefit is retroactive to January 27, 2020

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC):

  • Provides $600 per week to any individual eligible for any of the Unemployment Compensation programs
  • This benefit begins March 29, 2020

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC):

  • Provides for an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond the standard maximum of 26 weeks for traditional (regular) unemployment benefits

All eligible workers will receive these benefits backdated and will not lose out on any benefit amount to which they were entitled.

Workers who believe they may be eligible for these benefits can begin gathering income statements and other documentation that might be required to file, but the Department is asking them to wait to file until the systems are ready to begin accepting claims.