Bad news first: Colorado's December unemployment rate was a whopping 8.8 percent. Remember that number doesn't count all sorts of folks who would really still like a job — those who have given up, those who are underemployed — so the real number is actually much higher.
Now for the good news: Since so many people in the state are unemployed, the feds may extend Colorado unemployment benefits for an extra six weeks. Which is great news if you happen to be wondering how you're going to feed the kids.
DECEMBER UNEMPLOYMENT RATE MAY QUALIFY COLORADO
FOR SIX ADDITIONAL WEEKS OF EMERGENCY BENEFITS
State Labor Department is awaiting federal notification on eligibility
(DENVER) — Federal law allows states with a 3-month average total unemployment rate of 8.5 percent or higher to receive an additional six weeks of emergency unemployment compensation. With the release this morning of December’s unemployment rate (8.8 percent), Colorado may join 32 other states that have been allowed to take part in Tier IV. The U.S. Department of Labor will release official updated figures for October 2010 through December 2010 within two weeks.
Upon confirmation by the U.S. Department of Labor, six additional weeks of unemployment compensation will be available to Colorado residents who have run out of money on their regular unemployment claims and on the other extensions to their unemployment benefits. The fourth tier of EUC benefits provides an additional six weeks or 24 percent of the maximum benefit amount of a claimant’s regular unemployment claim, whichever is less.
The Colorado Department of Labor plans to mail notification to all Emergency Unemployment Compensation recipients who are potentially entitled for the six additional weeks of benefits and who have stopped requesting payment bi-weekly. Those who have continued to request payment and have an active claim will automatically receive this fourth tier of benefits. Claimants can reactive their claims online at any time by visiting www.colorado.gov/cdle and clicking on File for Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
Individuals are encouraged not to call the customer service telephone numbers (local and toll free) as the Department of Labor and Employment will take the initiative in contacting potentially eligible persons and providing additional filing instructions.
Additional information about how the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program works is available online at www.colorado.gov/cdle/ui.