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Issues arise with Colorado's Phase 2 of federal unemployment rollout over the weekend

CDLE building
Posted at 5:48 AM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 16:32:35-05

DENVER — Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment began rolling out Phase 2 of the Continued Assistance Act this weekend, to new hope and new frustrations.

It allows people to reopen or file new claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

But not everyone who should be eligible was able to access their benefits.

"Eight weeks later — we were looking up to this day and they have failed us. They have failed us big time," said Leon Andrione, who hasn't received PUA benefits since December.

Adrione said he’s struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over his daughter’s heads.

"I’m still trying to reassure my children that they cannot go hungry. I mean, what am I supposed to do? Food does not fall from the sky," Andrione said.

Adrione said he believes he may have made a mistake while trying to renew his benefits and was denied because of it. Since then, he hasn’t been able to resolve the issue with CDLE.

"We are hurting out here and we counted on this and we’re stretching moment by moment and day by day, hour by hour and we’re trying to live," he said.

The labor department said they haven’t seen wide-scale issues this weekend but do have a team working to answer questions.

"We do have a hyper-care team from our vendor and our UI team monitoring to see if there is any... glitches that prevent people from getting through and we’re working those point in time in trying to get people through the system," said CDLE Executive Director Joe Barela.

They say as of Saturday, more than 30,000 total claims were filed or reopened.

"We know they have been waiting eight weeks for these extensions of unemployment that the federal government has put forward. Now is the time to get in the system and start certifying weeks and getting those resources into your bank account as quickly as possible," Barela said.

The CDLE says their call center will stay open until 6 p.m. on Monday in order to continue answering questions.