Colorado Works

Frequent Pitfalls

Not paying attention to your 60-month 'time clock.'

You can get up to 60 months (five years) of Colorado Works cash benefits, as long as you continue to qualify and meet the requirements of your Individualized Plan. Sometimes called "the time clock," the 60 months is a lifetime limit. For example, if you get benefits for 12 months, go off Colorado Works for a while, and then get back on later, you only have 48 months of cash benefits remaining. If you only qualify for a small monthly Colorado Works benefit, it might be better to get other benefits, like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or other programs, so that if you need Colorado Works benefits later on, you still have time left on your clock. Learn more about the Colorado Works time clock.

Not following your Individualized Plan

If you are considered "work eligible," you and your Colorado Works case manager work together to create an Individualized Plan listing everything you need to get a job and become more financially stable. If you or someone you care for has a disability, your plan could include activities like applying for disability benefits or getting medical care. You must sign your plan, and if you do not do the work activities and other steps listed in your plan you might lose your monthly Colorado Works benefits. Learn more about Individualized Plans.

Not reporting changes to your income or living situation

You must report any changes to your income or living situation by the 10th day of the month after the change. You can do this:

Be sure to report if:

  • Your income goes up or down, or you have a new source of income
  • You move to a new address
  • Someone leaves or joins your household

If you don't report these changes on time, you may get an overpayment, which you will have to repay.

Not filling out the application completely or correctly

Whether you apply online through Colorado PEAK, at your local county human services department, on your smartphone using the MyCOBenefits app for Android or iOS, or with a paper application, the process can feel long and complicated. It's important to fill out the application correctly and completely. Don't just apply for Colorado Works, you can use the same application to see if you qualify for SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), Health First Colorado (Medicaid), cash assistance, Colorado's Old Age Pension, and other benefits programs. Read everything carefully and supply all the information that is needed, so you get all the help that you can.

Listening to misinformation

It can be difficult to get accurate and complete information about public benefits programs. Family, friends, or some social workers and advocates may have limited knowledge of available options. They may also be unaware of how changes in income or employment can affect whether you qualify for specific programs. To be sure the information you get is accurate and complete, contact your county human services department.

Learn more