DENVER (CBS4)– The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment on Thursday said roughly 9,000 gig workers received overpayments of their benefits. The agency is now trying to work with those claimants who were then asked to pay back that money.
“Basically it was panic mode, what are we going to do?” Jacob Nordby said.
Nordby was an Uber driver whose work all but stopped with the shutdown. The opportunity to apply for help following the passing of the CARES Act kept him afloat.
“It was a lifesaver,” Nordby said.
The same can be said for Adam Brill, another gig worker who lost work during the pandemic.
“It will be sort of a Band-Aid until everything’s healed and we can get back to normal,” Brill said.
Months after receiving their checks, the state determined their income was reported wrong, leaving them to figure out how to repay thousands of dollars.
“To be honest, I sold my car,” Nordby said.
The state says after reviewing roughly 9,000 cases just like Nordby and Brill, CDLE has determined an application question about wages may have been unclear.
“We are working on amending that form with definitions to make the fields, more clear to those who perhaps have never filed for unemployment insurance,” Deputy Executive Director Cher Haavind said.
They are now trying to work with those applicants.
“Any overpayment as a result of this misunderstanding of the form will have the ability to appeal with us,” Haavind said.
For those navigating the system, it’s the opportunity they needed to get back on track.
“My biggest take away is be more self-reliant and not be in this position in the future,” Nordby sad.
Typically, applicants have 20 days to appeal, that has now been extended to 180 days.
For now, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program will be suspended until CDLE can update the form.