Top CDLE Officials Discuss UI Fraud with NFIB Members

Date: February 21, 2022

Exclusive conference call is fourth in a series on the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund

Once again, NFIB brought its members together for an exclusive, February 16, conference call on one of the most pressing issues facing Colorado: the condition of its Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund. (Video at end of story)

The money the state owes the federal government for keeping the fund flush with cash – and benefits going to those in need — is now more than $1 billion. Because employers are the only ones who pay into the fund, they are rightly worried about astronomical increases in their UI taxes.

The pandemic did most of the damage to the fund, but how big of a role did fraud play?

“Every state was hit hard by fraud,” said special guest Daniel Chase, chief of staff at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. “Once all is said and done, once all the fraud is accounted for, we are almost guaranteed that the majority of fraud will have happened in the federal program, and it will be a negligible impact on the UI Trust Fund.”

Chase described “two buckets” of UI money, the state’s, which managed its fund reasonably and the federal government’s which did not. “Initially, when we saw fraud hit Colorado, it was entirely within the federal program.”

Chase and his aides, Kierston Howard, Meghan Kulp, and Phil Spesshardt, spent the better part of the 40-minute call answering NFIB members’ questions and providing greater detail on:

  • How CDLE processes claims for unemployment and how long the process takes
  • The fact-finding of applicants
  • Premium rates
  • Base-rate schedule
  • The surcharge kick-in to start in 2023 unless the Legislature acts of Gov. Jared Polis’ request to use $600 million in ARPA and state funds to pay down UI Trust Fund loans
  • Why some UI benefits went to workers who did not need them
  • The backlog of claims
  • Current status of investigations underway and who is conducting them

“I heartily thank Daniel Chase and his team at CDLE for taking the time to meet with NFIB members and informatively and reassuringly answer their many questions and concerns,” said NFIB Colorado State Director Tony Gagliardi. “This is the fourth in a series on the UI Trust Fund conference calls we’ve held for our members, and I believe taken together have imparted a wealth of knowledge on one of the biggest issues in a long time.”

The previous conference calls were:

  • Earlier this month, Sen. Rob Woodward discussed his ideas for getting a grip on the UI crisis facing Colorado.

  • Last month, Patrick Meyers, chief economic recovery officer and executive director of the state’s Office of Economic Development & International Trade, and Daniel Salvetti, strategy and analytics manager for OEDIT, provided an update on the current condition of the trust fund.

  • In December 2021, Sen. Chris Hansen, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, gave his thoughts on how the state might pay down or off the more than $1 billion in loans it took from the federal government to keep its unemployment insurance trust fund running.

Click the arrow below to watch the latest conference call.

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