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Unemployed Coloradans To See 'Dark Days' During Full System Overhaul

DENVER (CBS4) - As a second stimulus plan was approved in Congress late Monday night, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment says any new benefits will be rolling out around the same time their system will undergo a full overhaul. The change comes after that agency has overcome several hurdles caused by an outdated system.

(credit: CBS)

The upgrade was initially scheduled to happen last April, but the pandemic forced the department to shift resources to implementing new programs. Those became a lifeline for thousands of Coloradans.

"I still have just my head above water. Christmas has been limited unfortunately, but again just trying to keep afloat," said Adam Christopher, an Uber driver.

He was one of the gig workers impacted early on. CBS4 spoke with Christopher when the system suddenly applied thousands of dollars in overpayments to his account.

"It went smoothly for some of us. It didn't go smoothly for a lot of us, and that's where the problems really began," he said.

That was just one of the issues the state's labor department had to work out while also serving thousands of Coloradans.

"These programs are operated, managed and developed with old systems and old code," Cher Haavind, the Deputy Executive Director of CDLE, said.

In January, she says they'll be modernizing their system but transitioning more than 600,000 claims to a new program will come with downside.

"There will be a period of time in early January where we have dark days and claimants will not be able to interact with the system, request payments or file a claim," Haavind said.

For those who have been navigating that old system, it's a change that couldn't come soon enough.

"Better late than never I think is the whole lesson," Christopher said.

Haavind says when that upgrade does happen in January, it will be done over multiple days, likely a Wednesday through Saturday. Once back up and running on Sunday, a day to file claims they will have extra staff on hand in the call centers as well as extended hours.

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