Thousands of Coloradans encounter problems registering to receive COVID-19 lost wages assistance

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DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is working on revamping its system to help process its certification process for lost wages assistance.

More than 300,000 jobless people in Colorado have been trying to become “certified.”

People out of work due to COVID-19 must be certified before they can receive an assistance check for $300 in federal unemployment benefits.

The Lost Wages Assistance program (LWA) was authorized by President Donald Trump.

The president’s executive order was enacted after previous extended benefits known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) expired on July 25.

FPUC had offered an extra $600 in benefits.

To qualify for LWA, people making claims must certify that they lost employment due to COVID-19.

Colorado’s online virtual assistant stopped working after it was inundated with more traffic than it could handle.

Geraldine Santisteven of Thornton tried to get through for hours.

“It was like, ‘Oh my God! What do I do now?’ So of course, there was nobody to call, nobody to talk to. So, I had anticipated going down there and waiting in line today. I thought I don’t know what to do. There’s nobody to talk to,” she said.

On Thursday, the state’s Department of Labor and Employment told FOX31 it believes it has stabilized the software problem.

On its website, the department announced the LWA certification functionality is available once again.

The department stresses there could still be problems.

Some good news: Santisteven says she received an email saying she would receive the extra $300 even if the certification process is delayed.

A spokesperson said people seeking these benefits will still need to be certified.

Late Thursday evening, we received the following update from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment:

“We have started emailing all claimants today with an update to let them know the certification function is available again. These technical difficulties will NOT impact claimants’ ability to receive these benefits. Claimants who have already completed an LWA certification do not need to do so again.”

The Department of Labor and Employment will have a news conference Friday to talk about what they’ve done to fix the problem that affected so many people.

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