Only 6% of calls to Colorado’s unemployment line are getting answered. But changes are on the horizon. | VailDaily.com
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Only 6% of calls to Colorado’s unemployment line are getting answered. But changes are on the horizon.

After weeks of random and unsuccessful calls to the state’s unemployment phone number, Jamie Scappaticci set aside Tuesday to connect with anyliving soul who’d answer the unemployment help line at 800-388-5515.

The first-time filer had mistakenly let her benefits lapse in mid-April because she didn’t realize those on unemployment must request a payment every two weeks. So on Tuesday, she started calling at 8 a.m., when the call center opened.

“I was getting in about five calls a minute, and maybe every 60 or so I would get into the recording. The rest of them would either just hang up on me immediately, or give me the option to choose English and then hang up on me,” said Scappaticci, an Aurora resident who expects to return to her early-childhood center job in June. “And finally, at about 12:30, I got on the phone with someone who just said, ‘Yup, you can change your status to active online now.’” 

Much has changed since nearly a half-million Coloradans began filing for unemployment benefits in mid-March. And those who’ve spent hours on hold — the average wait time has been 47 minutes — may not realize the answers and updates are now available, or have been there all along. 

Since the start of coronavirus-related business closures, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment upgraded its computer systems to handle the influx, quadrupled the support staff to answer calls and provided an abundance of information on its site at coloradoui.gov — so unemployed workers should check it frequently.

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