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Changes expected soon for unemployment compensation recipients in Colorado, U.S.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Many people receiving unemployment benefits because of the COVID-19 pandemic will receive significantly less starting this week, after the weekly $600 federal payment for individuals expired July 25.

The benefit was a big help to many workers who were laid off or worked reduced hours due to the pandemic, with some employees reluctant to return to their jobs because -- including Colorado benefits -- they were paid more on unemployment.

Employers say the situation has made it difficult to find workers but some members of Congress say it has helped keep employees financially afloat during the pandemic, especially with the rising number of COVID-19 cases leading states to consider closing again.

Congress is currently discussing whether to continue the $600 benefit, reduce it to $200 or end it entirely, so that states can phase in a new program that would pay affected workers 70% of their previous income.

The $200 amount, and the new state-by-state program, are part of a proposed $1 trillion economic relief package being considered by Congress.

Some confusion existed over exactly when the $600 benefit ended, with one sources saying it ended this past weekend and another source indicating it ends this Friday. But a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment confirmed the ending date as last Saturday, July 25.

Traci Marques, executive director and CEO of The Pikes Peak Workforce Center in Colorado Springs, said she's already seeing more job-hunters coming in to look for work.

"Before COVID-19, we averaged about 125 people a day through our doors, and about 20 phone calls a day," she said.  "With COVID-19, our telephone calls are increasing between 250 and 300 a day."

Another source of concern, Marques said, is that 50,000 people have applied for unemployment benefits in El Paso County alone, and only 10,000 jobs are available.

But the center appears ready to handle the expected increase in demand. In late June, the center moved across town from the El Paso County Citizens Service Center to a vacant building near the intersection of Academy Boulevard and Galley Road.

The new location has more space to allow social distancing and frequent cleaning.

"What also will help, is restarting job fairs and hiring events," Marques said. "We discontinued those during the pandemic, but now they'll be an an appointment basis with job-seekers and potential employers meeting one-on-one."

She said those meetings will start next week, along with training and renewed efforts to provide employers and potential employees with more job skills.

Cheryl Gieske, 71, isn't sure she can find another job -- if it comes to that. She was laid off around Easter from a senior care facility and has drawn unemployment while waiting to learn if she'll be hired back.

"The $600 from the federal (government )has really helped myself and everyone," she said. "I knew it wouldn't be going on forever.  I'll still be getting a little unemployment and I should be all right for a while.  But I'm going to have to be working sooner (rather) than later."

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

Comments

16 Comments

  1. The most important question is how long it will take to get the new payments out to the unemployed people needing to pay their rent and grocery bills.

  2. Now I have to get a job? So stupid. The Government should be paying me to stay home. Typical of trump to force me to do something I don’t want to do!

    1. “Another source of concern, Marques said, is that 50,000 people have applied for unemployment benefits in El Paso County alone, and only 10,000 jobs are available.”
      Or the problem is there isn’t enough supply for the demand, and our community needs supplemental assistance. According to Forbes, Jan 11, 2019, 78% of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck. This was prior to COVID-19. After COVID-19, a percentage of those 78% of Americans were laid off or lost their job entirely. These people are your community. Jumping from living paycheck to paycheck, to then dealing with being laid off due to a worldwide pandemic crisis is what occurred. The bulk of people want to work, most of us realize that, but can’t because there are not enough open jobs yet. To believe that people want to stay at home and receive government subsidy is asinine. Is there a possibility that a small percentage believes this way, sure. But the bulk of the group believing the way you claim, no I disagree, I wouldn’t agree that even 10% believe this without substantial proof.
      Go donate some of your time at a food shelter, see how much pride Americans have, most will suffer rather than asking for help, even when they need it.
      Sorry this pandemic isn’t a political game.
      However, this pandemic is causing a lot of the political shortcomings to rise to the top. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are showing their ineptitude for successfully leading this country successfully; but that is a separate issue than the one currently being discussed.
      Let’s take away the bias away for a few and discuss this rationally.

      1. πŸ‘πŸΌSAY πŸ‘πŸΌ IT πŸ‘πŸΌ LOUDER πŸ‘πŸΌ SO πŸ‘πŸΌ THE πŸ‘πŸΌ RETARDS πŸ‘πŸΌ IN πŸ‘πŸΌ THE πŸ‘πŸΌ BACK πŸ‘πŸΌ CAN πŸ‘πŸΌ HEAR πŸ‘πŸΌ YOUπŸ‘πŸΌ. this pandemic gas exposed the ass of most Americans. Especially those lovely Christian conservatives who have to boil everything down to a lazy (and often minority) stereotype of a person who voluntarily chooses poverty as a lifestyle choice. These convoluted idiots can’t comprehend how decades of stripped worker rights, limited social mobility, stagnate wages, and squeezed inflation have left millions of Americans on the sidelines and vulnerable. It’s to the point where I hope this pandemic puts many of THEM out of work so they can begin grasping what it’s like to be on that end of the stick.

  3. Very good story — two points.
    First, I believe in the past you have had to prove that you were looking actively for a job to draw benefits, and that may have been put on hold for COVID. So the increase in numbers coming to the work center to register that they are looking for jobs might in part be due to folks making sure they have all their ducks in a row for continuing to draw benefits.
    Second, the stimulus package, with the extra $600 a week and the one time checks, is designed to help people stay afloat — but it is also designed to keep people from reigning in their spending, which would cause a drop in consumer spending and could send us into another recession.

  4. I know people who went on unemployment because it was more than they were making at work. So they have been on a constant vacation this whole time and loving it. With the benefit ending now they went and are trying to get their old job back. He was just told that they filled his old position and are not hiring now, he can put in an application and get in line for if any positions open in the future.
    Now he is in a panic because he didn’t save anything and they lived it up on the higher income so if he can’t find a job in the next month he will be behind on his mortgage and car payments.
    He asked if I had any projects I would pay him to do or knew anyone who needed some odd jobs completed. He is a good tradesman. I responded, “nope”. I have lost all respect for him that I won’t use him anymore or refer anyone to him. He could of been saving and doing side jobs this whole time and decided not to. So I will not feel sorry for him or others like him.

    1. Who do you think was living it up on a stimulus that only enhanced mostly low wage jobs by giving a 12-17% boost over base pay? You’re an oblivious moron and it’s hilarious. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Most people who lost jobs due to covid 19 in this first wave were employed in industries that were min wage or barely above it to begin with. When we flung the doors back open, many people didn’t feel it was of sound reason to start returning to normal so fast. According to the national and state numbers, there appears to be a lot of correctness in this situation. The government owed and continues to owe it to those fiscally displaced by this natural disasters to keep funding alive as we are now where near out or the woods. But no, let’s give corporations more money and keep ebery dirt bag in an army uniform funded indefinitely. And build a new 75 billion dollar building for the FBI. See, the issue with you convoluted morons is that you’re falsely assuming yourself to be experts. You also use lots of anecdotal stories with false information to paint and weave your ignorant and uninformed opinions. You’re just an idiot and an ass hole. And if you do actually own a business, I hope it falls on its face and someone comes and repos your pickup (we both know you drive a truck. It compensates for your… Smaller…. Short comings as a man)…

      1. “The government owed and continues to owe it to those fiscally displaced by this natural disasters to keep funding alive as we are now where near out or the woods”

        That is a great attitude that you can have all the way to the bread line. I make sure I never have to rely upon the govt for anything. That is the major problem here.

        1. So because you’re a sense retard everyone else is wrong? Okay, stupid. FYI – I have flourished during the pandemic. My career line has exploded as corporations desperately try to secure networks against a newly remote workforce. But I’m not stupid or dense enough to believe that I myself represent a majority. Infact, I’m well aware my income bracket makes up roughly 6-5% of earners in the nation. I’m also educated so I know the average American household lives paycheck to paycheck, and by no means living in excess doing so. So when a pandemic hits we owe it to each other to make sure we don’t collapse under a flush of poverty. I’m sure you don’t complain the same way about corporations being handed socialism on a silver spoon and bailed out ANY time something happens to them. But you’re also clearly just a low intelligence jackass who thinks you set the status quo for the whole nation. Why don’t you bend over and stick your good for nothing, uneducated, unhelpful opinion right up that greasy ass of yours and let adults handle the complex thinking. We don’t get educated for nothing.

          1. It would be fun to compare education and income with you. I guarantee I have the upper hand by a lot. I started with nothing and built up and earned everything I have.
            Two signs of being ignorant are the constant use of foul language and name calling. This you show with every post you make. It is actually 90% of all your posts. It must not be fun living life with that much anger and negative views of the world. But… unto each their own.

    2. I also know someone who works full time. They were told they would have to take 1 day off per week and they should file for unemployment. They filed and received $600 per week for one day. I think that’s complete crap. I can see paying them a little for the day of house they missed, but not that. I work 180 hours a month to receive what they are making for 32 hours a month in unemployment. Not only that, they still get their 32 hours per week working, social security and now this. They are banking! It irritate the hell out of me. I hope the government pulls their heads out of their ass and make them pay it back when they realize it wasn’t for 40 hours per week. I’m completely for it if you have no job, but to sit at home and live it up and not accepting work when it was offered to you is wrong. And your employer should have reported you for refusing to come back.

  5. The $600.00 extra a week has demotivated anyone to want to work! There are people at my job actually trying to be fired, so they can draw unemployment!
    Some of the employees have walked off the job and then filed for unemployment…I hope UEB are actually checking with employers to verify laid off vs. walked off!

    1. You are aware that under current (Yes eve before COVID) labor laws, a company that had laid / furloughed an employee meant that they received this benefit. Also, are you aware that when those businesses opened back up they were to follow the same labor laws and contact those same laid off / furloughed employees and advise them that their job was no longer inactive and they were to return back to work. You also understand that if those employees did not show up after the company followed the proper procedure, that the businesses are to report to the Division of Labor, to advise that the person was no longer laid off / furloughed and was contacted to return to work, and the employee never returned to work. This causes their unemployment to be null and void and they stop receiving checks.
      So do we need to recreate the wheel? Or is it that too many people are just ignorant and begin complaining and jumping on the propaganda bandwagon, rather than holding the businesses accountable for reporting this to the division of labor.
      See what is happening is complacency and laziness won again, twofold.
      First by the companies that are not following proper labor laws,
      second by people merely jumping on the propaganda bandwagons and not doing their due diligence to self-educate and learn that there is a process already in implementation, and it was there before COVID, the businesses just need to use it.
      This pandemic lockdown has been in place for almost 4 months. Most tapped what little they had in savings, when that ran out the rest finally got their $1,200.00 per person. Around April 11, 2020 is when some of those that were laid off received their first assistance. So counting today, 110 day have passed where some households have lived on just the $1,200.00. Could your household pay all of its bills and keep foo don the table with $1,200.00 for 110 days?
      Life is always about perspective, perhaps a change will help.

      1. Sorry for all the spelling and grammatical errors. Not having the ability to make corrections doesn’t help.
        eve = even
        foo don = food on
        just the ones I observed on a cursory scanning.

  6. The “bonus” was way too much from the start.
    Should have been essentially a sum that would make them 100% when added to their UE benefit.
    No need to give them an additional sum that alone is 3x what some seniors get for SS.

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