Resources for Recently Separated Employees

March 31, 2020

These are challenging times for employers and employees alike. In an effort to provide support to recently separated workers, the Chamber has collected a few helpful local and state resources. Feel free to share this with anyone who may benefit from the content.

We want to remind everyone that the Basalt Chamber is not a human resources expert nor government organization. Our goal is to share centralized resources for our business community and their employees that is accurate and unbiased.

Table of Contents
Unemployment Insurance
Health Insurance
Coping & Resiliency
Personal Finance


Unemployment Insurance

The Colorado Division of Unemployment Insurance exists within the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). 303-318-9000UI Contact Information

NOTE: The CARES Act has been signed into law, however CDLE will need to receive official guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor before implementing the new, enhanced unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. An updated status can be found on the state’s unemployment website home page, including a breakdown of the new standards.

GUIDE | CDLE – Your Guide to Unemployment Benefits [PDF] A 20-page handbook is designed to provide a basic understanding of the unemployment benefit process. Unemployment benefits may be available to workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own. 

Filing an initial unemployment claim

Recently separated employees need to file a claim, and can do so either through the online unemployment form or over the phone at 1-800-388-5515. The online form is recommended as it is available 24/7. If your session has timed out, refresh the page. 

VIDEO | CDLE – How to File a Claim
CHART | CDLE – COVID-19 Pandemic Scenarios & Benefits Available [PDF]

Impact of the CARES Act

The CARES Act became law on March 27, 2020 and it expands both the length and amount of unemployment insurance (UI) available to those filing claims. For the first time ever the law expands unemployment insurance to cover gig workers, independent contractors and individuals who are self-employed, populations which traditionally have not been covered by this type of benefit.

Forbes | What You Need To Know About Expanded Unemployment Benefits For COVID-19

For those who are self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees, and gig-economy workers, or are requesting an extension of benefits, please check the state’s unemployment website home page for the latest information. CDLE will update its site and notify news outlets when it is ready to accept these new types of claims.

After filing an initial claim

Refiling

How to maintain UI eligibility

It is critical that you understand your unemployment insurance compensation rights, responsibilities and/or benefits. If you need assistance in understanding this document, call 303-318-9000 or 1-800-388-5515 (outside Denver-metro area).

GUIDE | Your Responsibilities for Unemployment Insurance [PDF – English/Spanish]

Colorado Workforce Center

The Colorado Workforce Center is a state-wide network of resources within the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). Locally, the Glenwood Springs Workforce Center provides a variety of free services to assist employers and job seekers alike. These include:

  • Job listings
  • Computer & internet access (unavailable during the Stay At Home order)
  • Career counseling & training for job seekers
  • Recruitment of workers, pre-screening & referral services
  • Tax credits and training reimbursement for employers
  • Customers can choose either self-service or staff-assisted options to meet their employment needs. 

Carolyn Tucker is based out of the Glenwood Springs office and is more than willing to help you through the unemployment process: carolyn.tucker@state.co.us | (970) 945-8630

Health Insurance

Special Open Enrollment period – Through April 3 UPDATE: Through April 30 (updated 4/2/2020)

Connect for Health Colorado has opened an emergency Special Enrollment period from Friday, March 20 thru Friday, April 3, 2020. Thursday, April 30, 2020 [Extended by the State as of April 2]. Coloradans who are currently uninsured or about to lose coverage due to COVID-19 are able to get health insurance that May 1, 2020. And for others, you can still buy health insurance if you have a life-changing event. Certain events, including losing job-based coverage, moving, getting married, and having a baby all make you eligible for a special enrollment period. Otherwise, almost all Coloradans can buy health insurance during the Open Enrollment period, which begins Nov. 1, 2020.

NOTE: For those with reduced income during this crisis, you now may qualify for reduced cost insurance based on your income.

Basalt Chamber member Martin Insurance is a great local resource which can navigate you through the different options on the individual marketplace (both now, and during traditional Open Enrollment). Martin Insurance has bilingual, licensed and certified brokers that can help and it keeps money local: (970) 963-6161.

Job-based health insurance

From HealthCare.gov:

If you lose job-based health insurance, you traditionally have two main options:

  1. Buy a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace – Connect for Health Colorado
  2. Sign up for COBRA coverage

Option 1: Buy a health plan through the individual marketplace
If you leave your job for any reason and lose your job-based insurance, you can buy a marketplace plan. Losing job-based coverage, even if you quit or get fired, qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period (sometimes this is referred to as a “Qualifying Life Event”). This means you can buy insurance outside the yearly Open Enrollment Period.

Option 2: Sign up for COBRA coverage
You may be able to keep your job-based health plan through COBRA continuation coverage. COBRA is a federal law that may let you pay to stay on your employee health insurance for a limited time after your job ends (usually 18 months). You pay the full premium yourself, plus a small administrative fee (typically 100% + 2% = 102% of the premium cost). This is paid directly to the insurance company.

Potential Option 3: Medicaid
If your income is below a certain threshold (inclusive of any money received from unemployment insurance), you may qualify for federal-state health insurance program Medicaid, known in Colorado as Health First Colorado. The fastest way to find out if you qualify is to apply online at Colorado.gov/PEAK. Income guidelines chart.

There are several ways you can apply:

For more information on how to apply, see the Colorado Medicaid Apply Now page.

Another great resource
New York Times | The Upshot – How to Get Health Insurance if You’re Worried About Coronavirus or Have Lost Your Job

Coping & Resiliency

Your mental and physical health is important.  If you are stress, anxious, depressed, angry or all of the above, you are not alone. We are in this together, and caring mental health professionals are available if you need to talk.

Mind Springs Mental Health – New support line to provide help and guidance to community members on the Western Slope during COVID-19: 1 (877) 519-7505.  The line is staffed with trained mental health professionals, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Source. Mind Springs also is hosting several Facebook LIVE events and webinars to help support the community.

The Hope Center – Looking for a therapist? In addition to its phone support, The Hope Center is now offering Telehealth. Call to set a time for your mental health using the 24-Hour Hopeline: (970) 925-5858. Source.

Aspen Strong – Visit the website for resources including an anonymous mental health screening, tools and tips to help practice good mental hygiene, and local providers who can help.

Pitkin County COVID-19 Emotional Check In FormThis survey from Pitkin County Public Health is open to anyone who would like to share feedback on their feelings during this time.

Review information from the CDC on how to manage stress and anxiety as well as helpful coping mechanisms.

Personal Finance

The Roaring Fork Valley include three different counties resulting in different geographic areas having different programs available for food, financial assistance, and other support programs. Please explore the resources below.

Geographic-specific
Pitkin County | COVID-19 Resource Website – see the Financial Relief and Resources tab
Eagle County | Eagle Valley Behavioral Health COVID-19 Resources – scroll down to the Financial Assistance section for Eagle County-specific financial assistance programs
Pitkin County | Pitkin County Emergency Assistance Request form
Eagle County | Eagle County Emergency Assistance Request form
Pitkin County | Aspen to Parachute COVID Relief Programs
Eagle County | Roaring Fork Valley COVID-19 Emergency Resources – list of food resources

Other great resources
Wealth By Design | Financial Planner Danielle Howard Offers Advice for Navigating Change via KDNK interview
Intuit Mint | COVID-19 and Finances: Ultimate Money Tip and Resource Guide
Intuit Mint | Coronavirus: What You Need to Know to Get Through This Volatile Financial Time
Forbes | What To Do About Your Student Loans During The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis
NPR | Lost Work Because Of Coronavirus? How To Get Unemployment, Skip Loan Payments And More

Reach out to creditors
From a local loan from the bank to a landlord or mortgage company, now is the time to have a conversation about a change in your financial situation. Many banks are providing different forms of assistance, including refinancing loans to a lower rate and allowing for the deferment of payments without penalty. The Federal government is providing relief for student loan borrowers. Both the counties and the state have asked for landlords and mortgage companies to be understanding in these financially challenging times. The governor has urged, but not ordered, the suspension of evictions and foreclosures.