But after the deployment, people who didn’t have access to a smartphone or didn’t know how to use the technology had to scramble to figure it out, and many found themselves cut off from their benefits. Some people legitimately asking for money have even been flagged as fraudulent and blocked on their accounts.
The Colorado Department of Labor believes it has already paid at least $ 22 million in fraudulent unemployment claims and expects that number to increase. Spesshardt added that the agency has stopped far more than that – $ 502 million – from going into fake accounts.
The state attorney general’s office is investigating the fraudulent allegations, but has so far not made public whether anyone has been charged with a felony. The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced on Thursday that a man arrested for defrauding business assistance programs in the event of a pandemic is also accused of collecting over $ 40,000 in fraudulent unemployment benefits.
Work Incentive Program Ends Soon
Unemployed Colorado workers only have until the end of the month to qualify for the state’s Jumpstart program, which offers state-funded bonuses for finding a job. Individuals must have returned to work between May 16 and June 26 and must remain in full-time employment for at least eight weeks to be eligible. So far, 11,219 people have opted for the program, but the state has yet to determine whether they meet the criteria.
The number of people employed in Colorado increased by 7,200 in May. Most of the jobs that come back have been in the leisure and hospitality industry. Total job gains over the past 13 months represent a recovery rate of nearly 71 percent.
“If Colorado were able to maintain 2021’s current average monthly job gains of 16,300 through the remainder of the year, the state would fully return to pre-pandemic employment levels by December,” said Ryan Gedney, senior labor economist. department.
Despite the positive movement, some areas are still struggling. San Miguel, Pitkin, Pueblo, Gilpin, and Summit counties all have the highest unemployment rates in the state.