Colorado partners with Google to handle overload of unemployment claims

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program, which offers a $600 boost to those receiving benefits, will close on July 25. It is part of the federal CARES Act.

While the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has filled more than 85% of requested benefits, some claimants are having trouble getting through to a representative who can help them finish the process.

State officials tell the FOX31 Problem Solvers a new program created in partnership with Google is designed to handle the overload of applicants.

Department spokesperson Cher Haavind says the Virtual Assistant service has hosted more than 115,000 user sessions since it was launched last week.

“Request a PIN, request a backdate, reset your password, change your address information” she said of the services offered.

The accuracy rate has been as high as 97%.

Claimants who need to discuss issues that require sensitive personal information can now schedule a callback session.

The department has answered at least 18,000 requests so far.

Many who have verified approval but have still not collected benefits are concerned they won’t be able to be scheduled for added federal pandemic assistance before the July 25 deadline.

“For those folks who have a pending claim in process, even if you’re determined eligible after the 25th, if it’s for any weeks you’re out of work prior to the 25th, you will get those benefits retroactively,” Haavind explained.

Those still trying to get a claim approved should continue to apply.

“Let’s say that you have a claim  pending and you don’t yet have your (approval). Again, once we determine you’re eligible to receive those benefits, if it’s for any weeks unemployed prior to July 25, you will get that $600 a week federal benefit amount,” Haavind said.

Making a mistake can hold up your claim.

The most common errors are misspelled names, an incorrect Social Security number or wrong birthdate.

If you have questions about a new or existing unemployment insurance claim, schedule an on-site appointment through the online system. 

Scheduling opens Wednesday, July 22 at 8 a.m.

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