By Kati Weis

DENVER (CBS4) – As Colorado begins its comeback, there’s still many people who are struggling to survive, because they haven’t gotten their unemployment payments for weeks, even months.

CBS4 continues to get dozens of emails daily from unemployment claimants saying even once they verify their identity through the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s fraud fighter ID.me, their payments are still being blocked without any helpful answers as to why.

READ MORE: Colorado Department Of Labor Writing Off $61 Million In Overpayments Made During Pandemic

(credit: CBS)

Mary Jackson, of Colorado Springs, is one of those people. She says she’s had no income for nine weeks.

“I was panicking, really panicking,” Jackson said. “If it wasn’t for my family and friends, I don’t know what I would have done.”

Jackson worked cleaning house for nine years, but lost her clients when the pandemic hit. She’s been getting unemployment without any issues for the last year, but she says nine weeks ago that all changed after the CDLE asked her to verify her identity with ID.me.

Unlike many Coloradans this spring, she had no trouble verifying her identity with the company. It was once her identity was verified, that her money stopped coming.

She tells CBS4 she tried calling the CDLE three times a week for answers, but claims customer service representatives weren’t able to give her any clear answers about what was wrong.

“I felt helpless,” Jackson said. “There was nothing unemployment could do when I called them.”

She said one representative told her there were pending issues, but couldn’t see what specifically the pending issues were.

“They’re just like, ‘you’ll have to wait for someone to reach out and talk to you,'” Jackson recalled.

READ MORE: ID.me CEO: 6 Hour Wait Times For Unemployment Identity Verification Should Decrease In 2 Weeks

CBS4 inquired about her case with the CDLE, and within 24 hours, the department fixed Jackson’s claim. Jackson says she should be getting her $4,000 in back pay this week.

The CDLE said there was an issue with a mismatched birthdate that held up Jackson’s claim, something that surprised her, because she says she fixed the birthday issue with the CDLE long before she was required to verify her identity with ID.me.

“Nothing was said to me about my birthday at all, because I thought that was taken care of before this identification verification,” Jackson said.

CBS4 has received hundreds of emails detailing situations just like Jackson’s.

CBS4 asked the CDLE exactly how many people still have holds despite verifying through ID.me, and the average wait time a claimant must wait to get paid after verifying with ID.me, but the department would not say.

Instead, the CDLE says it’s working to clear legitimate claims that are still held up, sending the following written statement:

“When the information we get from ID.me does not match the information we have in our system for the same claim, payment will be held until a manual investigation can clear it. This is why it is extremely important for claimants to carefully read and answer each question accurately (both in doing ID.me and filing a claim with us) in order to avoid this scenario.

Every claim is different and has its own complexities. Our staff is working hard to clear legitimate claims as fast as they can while also upholding the Department’s responsibility to protect Colorado’s Unemployment Insurance program. Most claimants will be cleared within a few days after completing ID.me, but in some cases (like having mismatching information) claims will trigger egregious fraud holds that require additional review. This process may take time as we need to manually confirm a claim isn’t fraudulent. The amount of time that takes really depends on the complexity of the claim. We are implementing new ways to speed up investigation timelines. Some of these are being reviewed via our 3rd party vendor and some via automation. We’ve also been able to use our fraud analytics to clear some of these egregious holds en masse.

You can find our latest ID.me statistics on our UI Daily Dashboard. I’d like to point out that we just added a new feature in MyUI+ that allows claimants to see the status of their ID.me verification. Check out the screenshot on the bottom of the ID.me page of our dashboard.”

Kati Weis