DENVER (CBS4)– The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has upgraded its website in hopes of making it easier for those seeking help. More than 14,000 people applied for unemployment benefits in the state last week.

(credit: CBS)

“Welcome to Colorado unemployment insurance,” the recorded voice on the other end of the line announces.

It’s a call Elie Dumas says he has been making 20 to 50 times per day with no luck.

He is the single father of a 4-year-old girl. His records show he is due some $7,000.

“I wasn’t receiving unemployment compensation and I wasn’t receiving income,” he told
CBS4’S Rick Sallinger

Now the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has upgraded its online system for people like Elie.

A message at the bottom of its web page reads, “Welcome I’m the virtual assistant please click here to get started.”

(credit: CBS)

It should now be able to identify your particular claim.

Cher Haavind, Deputy Executive Director for the department said during a virtual news conference on Thursday, “We do believe that it will just continue it will help us address what we that we saw was call center activity now that we are providing 24/7 information services.”

After months without work, Elie is now starting to get back on his feet with his work as a massage therapist. But he lost his place to live in the process.

“They asked me to leave and a neighbor set up a GoFundMe page. And with friends and family I was able to raise enough money to move in here.”

The Colorado Department of Labor examined Dumas’ case and found that he hadn’t reported his job status every two weeks as required. Dumas said the only luck he has had reaching the department was online in Spanish.

(credit: CBS)

An appointment was set up for later this month. In the meantime, the state said it will work with Dumas to get his claim straightened out.

Rick Sallinger