By Kati Weis

DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Employment Office says many people are making mistakes when they apply for unemployment, which prevent them from receiving their benefits. The problem is, those people are having trouble getting through to anyone at the employment office, so they don’t know what they’re doing wrong, waiting all the while with no income.

So, CBS4 is helping more Coloradans obtain their unemployment benefits after waiting months with no money and no answers.

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CBS4’s Kati Weis interviews Daryll Parks. (credit: CBS)

Daryll Parks, of Denver, says he was laid off in late March from his job at a call center, where he had worked for three years.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Parks recalled. “I panicked, I didn’t know where I was going to get income.”

He said he applied for unemployment, but struggled to find answers from anyone at the office to find out why he hadn’t received a dime for months.

Days after CBS4 inquired about Parks’ case with the Colorado Employment Office, Parks received his unemployment benefits, totaling more than $8,000.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without you guys,” Parks said. “I feel like I can somewhat get my life back on track… it took a lot off my shoulders.”

The employment office says Parks wasn’t seeing his money, because he wasn’t requesting payments weekly.

(credit: CBS)

“You must certify you are still out of work,” a spokesperson for the employment office said. “Benefits are not automatically paid.”

Parks isn’t alone.

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The employment office says about 15% of claims haven’t yet been paid, mainly due to common errors like Parks’. Other common mistakes are typos in personal details, not reviewing new correspondence in the View Correspondence Tab, changing an address incorrectly, and misunderstanding the questions asked when filing for payment certifications.

Regarding the payment certification questions, particularly about job refusals or separation from employment, the employment office says, “these questions are asking for information specific to each week and should be read as such (i.e. did you refuse any offers of employment or separate from any work during this week?).”

The employment office also says its critical when you’re requesting payment by phone, that you answer all of the questions asked instead of hanging up early.

“Hanging up early will cause the system to fail to register your answers, treating it as if you never called,” a spokesperson for the unemployment office said.

While there are still thousands waiting on their benefits, the employment office has paid out about 85% of claims, and the office says it has “one of the highest benefit payment rates in the country since the pandemic began.”

(credit: CBS)

The employment office says the U.S. Department of Labor says Colorado is among the top five states for timely benefit payments.

So far, the state employment office has paid $4.8 billion in unemployment claims since March 29.

Click here to see the employment office website for more information about unemployment claims.

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For more information about job fairs, click here.

Kati Weis