DENVER (CBS4) – For nearly four years Adam Brill worked as an Uber driver. When a stay-at-home order was issued due to the pandemic, business declined and he stopped driving.
“I made the decision because I take care of my mother who has pre-existing conditions and is very high risk for COVID(-19),” he said.
When a new system for unemployment was established for “gig” workers he knew he would need the help. The online application asks that income or losses be reported.
“For gig workers we only have 1099 forms, so that’s all I had to provide my wages in the past,” Brill said.
Months later he filed his tax returns which included his income after expenses. That change led to a redetermination of his benefits and they would be cut in half.
Not only would he be getting less help, he had a bill to pay.
“I got an email saying ‘Now because of your redetermination of wages you have an overpayment of about $6,000, and because of that we now have to garnish $112 out of your weekly benefits,’” he said.
Brill believes the system was rushed into place and the error should fall on the state.
“The state was clear when this system was created and now you’re figuring out the error of your ways, now we are going to go against what was in the CARES Act to begin with and ask these people to pay back the money,” he said
In an email a spokesperson at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment says the issues are largely in part due to applicants not reading/understanding the questions. They say they use required federal forms.
However, they are now working on revising that language so it’s more clear.
“It’s flat wrong, during unprecedented times when people desperately need help,” Brill said.
The state is working to determine exactly how many Coloradans were overpaid and may now owe the state. They plan to hold an update on Thursday morning.