GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. | Colorado self-employed workers and residents whose unemployment benefits have expired can register for two renewed federal aid programs to help workers who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The registration period beginning Monday is for jobless people whose benefits were interrupted when the government’s previous pandemic unemployment programs expired Dec. 26, The Daily Sentinel reports.

The two initiatives, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for gig workers and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation for regular unemployment filers, were part of federal legislation approved late last year.

The programs were not fully implemented because former President Donald Trump delayed signing the law and stalled guidelines from the U.S. Department of Labor for operating the programs.

A new computer filing system Colorado installed earlier this month also contributed to the delay.

Jobless residents can log into the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s new MyUI+ system to reopen claims that expired but were not fully paid by the end of 2020.

Unemployed workers who received money through the previous programs must reopen their accounts to begin receiving payments backdated to Dec. 27.

Under new rules designed to catch and prevent fraudulent claims, most people must apply for regular state unemployment benefits before reopening assistance and compensation accounts funded by the federal government.

Applications will be conducted in stages. The first phase beginning Monday will serve people who received benefits that were interrupted. The second phase will allow workers who exhausted their benefits before the old programs ended to apply for additional aid.

The new federally funded programs are set to expire by mid-March unless Congress extends them, which legislators are negotiating.

All applicants will automatically qualify for a third renewed federal program that expired in July known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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