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Colorado To Distribute One-Time $375 Stimulus Checks This Week

Matt Bloom
A sign at the MetroLux movie theater in Loveland. The theater was closed for months this spring due to coronavirus related restrictions.

Hundreds of thousands of state-funded stimulus payments are set to hit the bank accounts of unemployed Coloradans this week, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. A department spokeswoman confirmed in an email that bank transfers will begin on Tuesday, but payments may not arrive until the end of the week.

The $375 checks aren’t for everyone. They’ll only go to Coloradans who received at least one weekly unemployment benefit between $25 and $500 from mid-March to late October. The state estimates roughly 435,000 people are eligible.

The new round of checks stem from an executive order Gov. Jared Polis issued in late October. It freed up more than $163 million from the state’s general fund to help support low-income Coloradans. In a statement, Polis said the plan was his response to a lack of federal action on coronavirus economic relief.

“Washington D.C. has failed to act to provide additional direct cash support for hardworking Coloradans and to further stimulate the economy,” Polis said in the announcement. “So Colorado is boldly doing our part to help our own.”

Since then, the state labor department has notified eligible residents directly, according to its website. Unemployment claimants can also check themselves whether they qualify for a stimulus check by visiting the department’s website.

Residents don’t need to take any action to receive their payments, according to the labor department. The checks should be deposited directly into bank accounts already linked with a user’s information in the state’s unemployment system. Users using pre-loaded debit cards will get their stimulus checks that way.

The payments are significantly less than the federal government’s $1,200 CARES Act stimulus checks issued last spring. Congress hasn’t passed any coronavirus relief legislation since March. Negotiations to pass another round have fizzled.

Meanwhile, Colorado’s economy has struggled to crawl its way back to pre-pandemic levels. New unemployment claims have spiked in recent weeks as counties clamp down on restaurant and other business capacities. The rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases continues to climb in much of the state.

State lawmakers kicked off a special session on Monday to try to prevent the economic recovery from backsliding. They introduced more than a dozen bills designed to give financial aid to restaurants, movie theaters and other struggling industries.

I cover a wide range of issues within Colorado’s dynamic economy including energy, labor, housing, beer, marijuana, elections and other general assignment stories.
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