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Coronavirus In Colorado: Self-Employed And Gig Workers Can Soon Apply For Unemployment

DENVER (CBS4) -- A lot of people have been wondering when unemployment benefits will start to come in, and when to apply. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said Thursday they had to update their systems in order to process all the new types of workers applying for unemployment.

One of those workers is Jay Vogt. He has been a self-employed carpenter in Boulder for 40 years.

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"I love being a carpenter and building things. It's very much a part of who I am," Vogt says. "I'm 71 and I'm still out there. I can keep up with anybody."

He has never been out of work -- until recently when the coronavirus pandemic stopped him mid project.

"This is the first time I've been in a situation like this, it's unusual," he says.

For the first time in his life, he will have to apply for unemployment insurance. Usually, as a self-employed person he wouldn't qualify, but thanks to the stimulus package passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump, he will be eligible for money. But he hasn't gotten it yet.

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The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is reprogramming its benefits application process because they have never had the self-employed or gig workers apply before.

"We're right in the middle of programming and dedicating all of our resources to stand up the systems to take the claims," says Cher Haavind, the Chief Communications Officer at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Colorado is one of many states working hard to get the application process updated and running so people can get their money.

"We're hoping for somewhere around mid-April," says Haavind.

Once gig workers and the self-employed are able to file, their funds will be retroactive so they won't miss out on money because they haven't been able to file yet. It's all new territory for the state, just like it is for Vogt, who hopes he won't have to rely on assistance for long. He's ready to get back to work.

"Hopefully I will continue where I left off," he says.

RELATED: Latest Updates On The Coronavirus Outbreak In Colorado

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