Governor Polis Calls on Colorado’s Federal Delegation to Ensure Extension of Critical Benefit Programs

Monday, March 1, 2021

DENVER - Governor Polis urged Colorado’s federal Congressional delegation to extend several crucial supplemental federal benefit programs before they expire in March to ensure that Coloradans continue receiving the financial support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Each time Congress lets federal assistance programs lapse and or changes the eligibility criteria the state has to wait for guidance from the US Treasury, then it must reprogram the UI system to that guidance causing unnecessary delays and hardship for thousands of Coloradans. 

In his letter, Governor Polis strongly urged the delegation to extend several federal assistance programs, including the pandemic unemployment assistance program, and the emergency unemployment relief for government entities and nonprofits, among others without changes to eligibility and without gaps in coverage. Governor Polis emphasized the importance of quick passage well in advance of the March 14th expiration to ensure no further interruption of benefits and to allow the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) to adapt their systems. 

Many federal assistance programs are set to expire March 14, potentially forcing over 100,000 Coloradans to face losing assistance that has helped them throughout the financial crisis caused by the pandemic. 

“While Colorado is appreciative for the immediate aid provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act in December, the continued uncertainty regarding the extension and funding of federal unemployment programs for Coloradans makes it difficult to plan for basic needs and unexpected costs,” Governor Polis writes in his letter. 

“As you know, more than 18 million Americans are now collecting unemployment benefits, including $300 weekly supplemental payments that began in January. In just a few weeks, these crucial supplemental federal benefits will expire. Among one of the provisions in the American Rescue Plan is an increase in the supplemental weekly jobless benefits until August 29th, 2021. It is imperative that we avoid an interruption in these benefits and pass an extension that lines up with the programs from the Consolidated Appropriations Act to ensure programming can continue as seamlessly as possible,” Governor Polis wrote. 

Read the Governor’s letter to Colorado’s federal delegation.