[EDIT 10/20] The second round of Colorado payments has been released as well. If you are on PUA, you can log in to your payment section and see WHEN your payments will be released. (Put in a start date of August 1 – scroll to the right where it says “Additions” to look for $300 payments, then back to “Payment Date” for those rows.)
If you are getting a notice that your claim is ineligible when you put in your Social Security and Zip Code – which hopefully they have fixed now – many people are having success going through the Spanish version with their PIN. Use Google Translate as needed.
It is completely frustrating if it’s not working, but you have until October 26th [updated deadline] to keep trying to get in. [UPDATE 10/20 – HOWEVER, “Dividing payments into two installments is meant to make the process as equitable as possible, so folks who are late to certifying will still get at least three weeks of bonus benefits. But it’s still first come, first served and the $553 million from the federal government is expected to run out. Those who are denied benefits or are too late will be notified.” This link also states, “Payments are expected to take three business days from the request date. If you had technical issues and requested a callback, those are being moved to a separate queue and users should be called back within the week.”
Best of luck to everyone. Feel free to join one of the Facebook groups for the latest information. I think the most useful one is Colorado PEUC/PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) Q&A.
In order to receive the Lost Wages Assistance program (the $300/$400 Federal addition, explained more in a previous blog post or as listed on Colorado’s website), one requirement is that your unemployment must be caused in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Colorado has just added a verification portion to their website, but so far has not TOLD anyone about it that I can see. (In fact, they previously listed you would not need to do anything extra to receive it.) I found out through the Colorado PEUC/PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) Q&A Facebook group.
UPDATE 9/15 – An email went out yesterday telling people about this new verification. The system apparently was overwhelmed and MANY people could not get through. We do have until October 3rd to verify, so you have some time to try again when it has calmed down. Here’s the top-of-the-webpage banner they put out September 15th (emphasis mine):
ALERT | 9.15.20
Due to high demand, we are currently experiencing some technical issues with our Virtual Assistant. We are actively working to resolve these issues. If you experience problems, please try again later in the day. Please do not schedule a callback related to Virtual Assistant issues; doing so will only cause delays for other Coloradans who need help. Please check back with this page for the latest updates.
If you are on PUA you do not need to verify this; they already know your unemployment is because of the pandemic (see the blue wording below that verifies this). I DID need to do it myself, as someone on PEUC extended benefits, and those on regular unemployment should check as well.
This is for those who were on unemployment from July 26th to September 5th (assuming Colorado gets approved for the final sixth week.
Verifying on the CO website | How do I know if I’m on PUA or another version of unemployment? | How many weeks is it? (Does it matter per state?) | What about other states?
You can visit Colorado’s website for frequently asked questions on the LWA, as well as how to do it by phone. (Note, I’ve heard anecdotally that the Spanish version has not had issues in being overwhelmed.) As I went through it this morning via my PC computer, here are the steps I took.
Look for the Virtual Assistant that pops up as a blue block. This may be easier to do on a computer than a phone, and for me was at the bottom right of the screen.
Click on it, and type in the letters “LWA” (for Lost Wages Assistance).
It then pops up an autobot that reads:
Answer Yes to move on…but make sure you have your PIN available. (PUA people don’t need the PIN or to do this process, the sheer fact you’re on PUA is because of the pandemic. For folx on regular (UI) and extended (PEUC) unemployment, the instructions I’ve read say to type in “Request PIN” into the virtual assistant to receive one by email. This used to not be possible online, and I’m not going to screw up mine by requesting a PIN as I know mine. UPDATE 9/17: It has been reported to me that sometimes you only need your Social Security Number and Zip Code – perhaps they changed this because so many were freaking out about not having a PIN! UPDATE 9/18 – some who had issues with SSN & Zip have had success in Spanish with SSN & PIN, even if they have to use Google Translate.)
The next question is:
In order to provide you with the information you requested, I need to authenticate you by getting your social security number and four digit PIN, do you want to continue?
UPDATE 9/17: The question has now changed to: In order to provide you with the information you requested, I need to authenticate you by getting your social security number and five digit zip code, do you want to continue?
Answer yes if so. You’ll then be asked to provide then verify both your social security number and your PIN. (UPDATE 9/17 – or as mentioned above, perhaps your SSN and Zip Code instead of PIN)
After review, if appropriate, the message will say*:
Thank you. I’ve reviewed your account, and you may be eligible to receive Lost Wages Assistance benefits. First, I need to ask you whether or not your unemployment or partial unemployment is due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you answer yes, you may be eligible to receive these benefits, provided funding remains available. If you answer no, you will not be eligible to receive the Lost Wages Assistance benefits.
Now that I’ve explained that, is your unemployment or partial unemployment due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic? Please type either ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
If so, type yes.
Hopefully, your answer received is like mine:
Great. Thank you for completing the certification for Lost Wages Assistance benefits. You do not need to take any further action in order to receive these benefits, other than continuing to request payment as you normally would.
These benefits will be paid separately from your regular unemployment benefits and may take several days to process. If you are denied for any reason, or there are no remaining Lost Wages Assistance funds available, we will notify you.
Is there anything else I can help you with?
*If you have actually already filed successfully, the response will be:
You have already completed the certification for Lost Wages Assistance benefits. You do not need to take any further action in order to receive these benefits, other than continuing to request payment as you normally would. These benefits will be paid separately from your regular unemployment benefits and may take several days to process. If you are denied for any reason, or there are no remaining Lost Wages Assistance funds available, we will notify you. Is there anything else I can help you with?
Please note, if you have more than one person in your household who could qualify, I recommend using a separate browser for the next person. When I tried to do it for my husband, I didn’t have a chance to put in another set of SSN/PIN. I was using Chrome for mine, so I switched to Microsoft Edge for his and it worked fine.
UPDATE 9/18: For some reason, even if you have taxes taken out of regular unemployment, some people are not having their taxes taken out of this. It is taxable income. Mine did come out, and for reference, the $600 deposited as $516 and the $300 as $258. Save back that money for tax time if they didn’t!
Good luck filing! Please let me know if you find any discrepancies/corrections when you file.
Refer to my previous blog post for full explanations of PUA vs UI, PEUC, LWA and other pandemic alphabet soup. The short version for this purpose (because PUA don’t have to do it): PUA’s were created so that 1099-filing gig workers could receive unemployment benefits for the first time. In Colorado, PUA has a completely separate login system from the others.
The regular system looks like this, and includes “MYUI” in the web address:
If you are on PUA, your login system looks like this, and includes “PUA” in the web address:
UPDATE 9/17 – I’ve been told there is also a red version of the PUA login.
As for the LWA itself FEMA representative recently announced that all states and territories that filed (all but South Dakota, plus DC, Guam, and Virgin Islands did file) will receive the six weeks worth. [Colorado’s website still lists just five at the moment.] After that, the funds are depleted. This means it is for the six weeks just after the $600 payments ended (July 25 or 26, depending on the state), and thus will all be back payments. There is also an online LWA tracker as to which states have paid or what estimated paydates are. Many of these also still list just five weeks, but from what I’ve heard eventually all but South Dakota will go to six.
UPDATE 9/15 re Colorado payment dates: I haven’t found verification yet, but on a Facebook group a member stated that PUA money would be released September 17 (as no verification is required), and for those who verify, it will be 7 days after the date of verification. We are still waiting to see whether it is for the first three weeks worth in this first payment, or more. The official answer from the website is, “LWA benefits will be paid separately from your normal unemployment benefits, and may take several days to process. If you are denied for any reason, or there are no remaining Lost Wages Assistance funds available, we will notify you.”
UPDATE 9/17 re Colorado payments: Today the 9News website states, “CDLE said payments will come in two lump sums: one paid later this week, and the second payment starting Sept. 25.” A member of the Colorado PEUC/PUA Q&A Facebook group asked where they got the information, and the reporter replied that it came directly from the executive director of CDLE Cher Haavind.
UPDATE 9/18 – I personally have now received the first three weeks of Lost Wages Assistance to my direct deposit for both myself and my husband. I used the Virtual Assistant on September 12th. He is on regular unemployment, I’m on the PEUC extension. They came as separate deposts for each week, each person (we received six deposits total). If I login to my unemployment account, however, I still have the alert on the home screen about certifying if haven’t already, and on the payment screen the wording is still there saying the $600 will not be reflected, and nothing whatsoever about $300 weeks.
The payments are being doled out, and I think it’s based on when people certified. According to Channel 7, money for 28,000 people was sent to banks Thursday night, which was seen on Friday (like mine). Another 94,000 were sent Friday morning – we don’t know how banking will do over the weekend. I had heard somewhere that it would be six days after filing for some; that certainly worked for my case. Again, applicants have until October 3rd to certify.
Info I have on other states currently: Oregon, New York, and Tennessee sent an email to applicants if it wasn’t already noted in their original claims (here’s more how-to for Oregon); Arizona does not ask currently, Missouri it appears you need to check that yes your unemployment is due to COVID (see more below), for instance; it may be based on your original filing answering the same question. Again, PUA applicants have already answered this in their ability to get PUA in the first place, so don’t need to answer again. As mentioned above, 49 states have filed for the LWA, as well as Washington, DC, Guam and the Virgin Islands. South Dakota did not file for it.
UPDATE 9/12 on Missouri Unemployment: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has notified Missouri that the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program is only payable for six weeks, from the week ending 8/1 through the week ending 9/5/20. The week ending 9/5/2020 is the last payable week for LWA. [This matches previous data I’ve seen about six weeks starting right after the $600 ended.] DES and its representatives are not able to alter any LWA eligibility requirements or extend the weeks that can be paid through this federal program. Any pending payments to eligible recipients will be paid retroactively as allowed by federal guidelines.
Please check out my other posts tagged Navigating Unemployment.