By Ryan Mayer

DENVER (CBS4)- The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact every day life and cases are once again on the rise both here in Colorado and across the United States. The effects have been felt most acutely in the millions of Americans that have lost jobs due to the closure of businesses and capacity restrictions on certain industries.

But, while the pandemic continues to unfold, Colorado has been at the forefront of making sure that its residents who have lost jobs are receiving the unemployment benefits they’re entitled to. The state was recognized by Politico as one of the best in the country at paying out unemployment claims quickly and securely.

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The state was praised for its ability to not only pay out claims quickly but also for protecting workers who didn’t want to go back to work if they don’t believe they’ll be safe. Of particular note, Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at progressive think tank The Century Foundation, was impressed by the state’s fraud-prevention efforts.

Stettner contrasted Colorado’s efforts with those of other states who he says let claims “just sit in a queue for weeks, and it’s because … [many state officials] look at the unemployed as wanting to commit fraud in general.”

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Politico notes that the state has done well to avoid paying out scams.

“The state has successfully foiled scams, recently announcing it had prevented the payment of nearly $1 billion in fraudulent claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, federal money intended for out-of-work freelancers, gig workers and the self-employed.”

Gov. Jared Polis had an urgent message for residents this week that the state needed to get the virus under control once again both to make sure that hospitals aren’t overwhelmed by cases, but also to help the state’s economy rebound faster.

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“We have to do better if we want our economy to grow. Because in the areas (outside Colorado) that have had acute hotspots there has been a complete deterioration in consumer confidence and people are terrified to leave their home, engage in commerce. We don’t want that here,” Polis said.

Ryan Mayer