Colorado Works

The Basics

Colorado Works is part of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which has different names (and different rules) in different states. To get Colorado Works benefits, you must be a Colorado resident and your family must have low income.

Colorado Works helps low-income families by giving them money to pay for basic needs like food, clothing, and rent. At the same time, it helps these families find ways to become more financially stable by offering things like education and training, workshops on resume writing or interviewing, job referrals, help applying for other benefit programs, or other steps to create more income. Colorado Works also helps with things like child care or finding housing.

If you get Colorado Works cash benefits and are considered "work eligible," you must work with a case manager (sometimes called a coach or a workforce specialist) to create an Individualized Plan. Your plan lists everything you agree to do while getting Colorado Works benefits, and everything the local Colorado Works program agrees to do to help you. If you have a disability, you and your case manager will make a plan for you, but it might include things like applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if you don't already get those benefits, or getting needed medical care. Learn more about Work, Benefits, and You.

Note: Each of Colorado’s 64 counties runs its own Colorado Works program. The way they calculate if you can get benefits and how much you get each month is the same statewide, but what the various steps are called and what kind of supportive services you get can vary from county to county. To find out exactly how Colorado Works operates in your county, contact your county human services department.

This article explains who can get Colorado Works, how to apply, and has details about its benefits. We'll begin by describing how to Apply for Benefits.

Colorado Works and other programs

If you get Colorado Works benefits, you might also qualify for Health First Colorado (Medicaid) and SNAP (formerly Food Stamps). When you apply for Colorado Works, ask for these benefits on your application or ask about them when you talk to your eligibility worker.

Depending on your age or health, you might also be eligible for SSI or the Colorado Old Age Pension (OAP) program. However, you can only be in one of these three programs at a time (Colorado Works, SSI, or OAP). Ask your eligibility worker or case manager about which of these programs you might qualify for, and the pros and cons of each.

Get Expert Help

If you have questions about your benefits and need to talk to someone, you can:

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