DENVER — For many Coloradans, their Sunday was filled with confusion and frustration, stemming from the state’s upgraded unemployment benefits website.
The new MyUI+ benefits system opened Sunday and was promoted by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).
"The website says, 'We’ve now launched our new unemployment benefit system called MyUI+'. The catch to that is they have a disclaimer saying that only people on regular UI benefits can go in and apply," said Sally Wilkins, who tried requesting benefits.
This means Coloradans on PUSA, PEUC, SEB, aren’t able to request payment as an alert shows on the state’s site.
"Your system was down for a week for reprogramming, you’ve already announced that your system is up and running and able to address everything but then you turn around and say only if you’re a regular claimant. So how does this affect people like me that are on these other programs?" Wilkins said about the system.
Charles Kirmuss, who tried logging into the state's MyUI+ benefits system to request benefits, said when he tried to call the state for help, the number rang for a long time.
"And then you get this automated system that doesn’t get you anywhere and then finally they say, 'Well, we’ll call you back,'" he said.
For Kirmuss, it could have an impact on his livelihood, even if people can request back payments.
"Spending the whole morning and being kicked out saying your password isn’t valid — it became very frustrating because here we have to take money out of savings to pay for a car, to pay for electricity, to pay for rent," Kirmuss said.
Officials have said they’re reprogramming their systems so people who aren’t able to access their account now will be able to, but there isn’t an exact timeline. They say they’ll reach out to people directly when they can access the site.
"No information, no answers to questions for people who aren’t on the regular unemployment," said Wilkins.
In a statement Monday, CDLE said there are currently no benefits for PUA claimants because the state only received the required federal guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor Friday and need to reprogram the new system. Because of this, PUA claimants cannot do anything to request payments in the system, which is why it doesn't give them the option.
CDLE also said they've sent multiple emails to claimants, including on Sunday, which indicated PUA claimants will be notified when they're able to request payments for weeks after Dec. 26. PUA claimants can use their existing credentials to log into MyUI+.
The upgrade was supposed to streamline many of the processes but created headaches on day one instead.
Now, many are waiting for a clear answer on when much needed relief will arrive.
CDLE also said roughly 32,000 requests were made Sunday. They said a majority of the 20% flagged are likely potential fraud. They anticipate having more data in the coming days.