DENVER (CBS4)– Cherie Ripley is one of 289,000 Coloradans who have received an email with instructions for the second phase of the unemployment benefit. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment announced Thursday that the second phase would begin a few days ahead of the scheduled date on Saturday, February 20.
“It just really gave us hope,” Ripley told CBS4’s Andrea Flores. “I got my email on Tuesday evening and most of us should be able to sign up by 3am on Saturday.”
CONTINUE READING: Coloradans behind Monday’s demonstration over unemployment benefits “don’t want any more broken promises”
Ripley is cautiously optimistic. She says she hasn’t received any payment since late November.
“There are a lot of people with phase one who haven’t been paid out and now we’re going into phase two and people with phase one are still struggling,” said Ripley. “We ask ourselves, ‘How many breakdowns will there be? How many rejections or unanswered questions will we have? ‘”
She organized a demonstration in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment in downtown Denver almost two weeks ago, but says conditions have improved since then.
“I have to say the CDLE stepped up in some ways to be supportive and more communicative, and that helped a lot,” said Ripley.
CDLE CEO Joe Barela hopes Coloradans understand that the process takes time.
“We have to make sure that we comply with the rules and regulations so that we comply with the law, but we are also getting money to the people as soon as possible during these times,” Barela said in a press conference on Thursday.
Ripley believes it is time for Governor Jared Polis to step in and make sure the CDLE stays on track.
CONTINUE READING: Online petition, demonstrations emerge as frustrations with lack of unemployment benefits and communication increase
“Governor Polis was one of the biggest problems for me. I’ve asked several times to sit down and have a meeting with him, but he’s really obviously ignoring a lot of what’s going on, ”said Ripley.
CBS4 contacted Polis’ office. A spokesman sent a statement: “The governor agrees that the state must do everything in our power to provide people with the unemployment benefits they deserve. He was delighted that the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment announced today that everything will be working by Saturday, and that the hardworking people waiting for benefits that have exhausted their entitlements will now be able to make those payments to collect and perform in full. He continues to urge Congress to end the seizures, stops, and start cycles that create bottlenecks in order to reap benefits quickly. “
While Ripley knows the system isn’t perfect, she has something to look forward to.
“As much as we need the money, that’s the most important part of course, but I think a big part of it is getting back into our lives. Just to be able to live and not have to evade the bill collectors or make promises that we cannot keep, ”she said.
The CDLE announced that it emailed applicants on Tuesday to inform them of eligibility and the steps to take. Even if people haven’t received an email, applicants should log into their accounts on Saturday, according to the CDLE. The system is out of service from Friday at 5:30 p.m. and until Saturday morning at 3:00 a.m.
The CDLE also announced Thursday that it will hire 100 agents for a third-party call center. They also hire 50 internal agents. These places are only intended for Coloradans. The vacancies can be found at https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/colorado/jobs/2988141/unemployment-insurance-call-center-agents.
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