Colorado Unemployment

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Unemployment Benefits Eligibility

General Benefits Eligibility Criteria

You must meet eligibility requirements mandated by both state and federal law in order to qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. Colorado unemployment insurance eligibility criteria defines specific rules used to determine whether you are eligible or ineligible to receive unemployment benefits. You must meet both work and wages eligibility criteria to collect unemployment benefits in the state of Colorado.

The following criteria is necessary for all individuals who wish to collect unemployment insurance. Failure to meet and follow these required actions could result in denial of your unemployment insurance claim for benefits.

Work Eligibility Criteria

To receive Colorado unemployment benefits, you must:

  • Work less than 32 hours per week
  • Be out of work through no fault of your own
  • Willing and able to accept suitable work
  • Actively search for work and record your search in a log


  • Be job or union attached - you must return to work with your employer within 16 weeks
  • Register with your local workforce center or Connecting Colorado within four weeks after filing for unemployment benefits
  • Report to a workforce center upon request
  • Request benefits every two weeks

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Wages Eligibility Criteria

To receive Colorado unemployment benefits, you must:

  • Have earned at least $2,500 during your base period
  • Report all earnings, including from self-employment and/or commissions*
  • Earn less than 25 percent of your Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA)
  • If you earn more than 25 percent of your WBA, you could be eligible to receive partial benefits

*Failing to accurately report income earned is considered fraud and may result in overpayment. If you are overpaid, you will be required to repay the benefits you received, plus a 65 percent penalty, and you may be charged with a state and/or federal crime.

Unemployment Availability Limits

You may receive full Colorado unemployment insurance benefits for up to 26 weeks, as long as you work less than 32 hours per week and earn less than 25 percent of your WBA. If you earn more than 25 percent of your benefit amount and continue to receive partial benefits, your benefit amount will be reduced by one dollar for every dollar you earn. If you find full-time work, your benefit payments will stop.

The federal government does not report wages directly to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Claimants must contact the division to report wages from federal or military employment after filing.

If you received workers’ compensation at any time during the last three years, unemployment insurance benefits may not be available to you. Contact the Colorado Department of Labor for more information.    

Unemployment Extensions

As of September 2016, there are no Colorado state or federal unemployment extensions available. If the unemployment rate goes above 6 percent, extensions for collecting unemployment insurance benefits  may become available to those individuals who meet eligibility requirements.