Colorado Works

Work, Benefits, and You

Working with Colorado Works

After your application for Colorado Works is approved, you must meet with your case manager (sometimes called a coach or workforce specialist). If you are considered "work eligible," you and your case manager work together to create an Individualized Plan, listing everything you need to become more financially stable.

In smaller counties, your case manager could be the same person who did your eligibility interview. In larger counties, you may have to attend an orientation that explains how the county's Colorado Works program works before you meet with a case manager.

Your case manager talks with you to decide what services, training, or other support you and your family need. This can include questions about:

  • Family
  • Housing
  • Work experience, including internships
  • Anything in your life that prevents you from working
  • Basic job skills (you may be asked to take tests)
  • Education and training
  • Interests
  • Need for transportation to your job, schools, or place of childcare
  • Need for childcare
  • Health issues
  • Past legal troubles (if any)

Tell your case manager about anything you might need, from counseling to a bus pass, school supplies, or diapers. If your case manager can't help you with those, they may be able to tell you where you can get the help you need.

If you are uncomfortable answering a question, ask why that question is being asked. If you are still uncomfortable about answering, tell your case manager that you would rather not answer, and ask what will happen if you don't answer.

Based on your answers, you and your case manager create your Individualized Plan.

If you have a disability, you and your case manager still create a plan for you, but it could include things like applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if you don't already get those benefits, or getting needed medical care.

Your Individualized Plan

Your plan should include:

  • Everything you agree to do while getting Colorado Works benefits, and
  • Everything the county agrees to do to help you.

You need to work with your case manager to make sure your plan meets your needs and includes goals that you can do and want to do. This can include:

  • The kind of job you plan to find, including how much time you have to get that job.
  • Which work activities you must do.
  • Anything you and your family need, like SNAP, childcare, medical insurance, transportation, housing, school supplies, drug or alcohol treatment, or counseling.
  • The date you have to have everything done.

Note: Your plan may look different if you or someone you are caring for has a disability, and the Colorado Works 60-month time limit might be extended, if you make a hardship request.

Work Activities

If you are considered work eligible, your plan will include doing a certain number of "work activity" hours each week. These can be:

  • Unsubsidized employment
  • Subsidized employment
  • Work experience
  • Actively looking for a job
  • On-the-job training
  • Vocational training
  • Community service
  • Job skills training directly related to getting a job
  • Education directly related to getting a job

The work activities listed in your plan can be based on your situation. For example, if you are at risk of homelessness, your plan may include taking specific steps to find stable housing. If your children have health problems, your plan could include getting them medical care.

Note: If you or someone you care for has a disability, your plan could include activities like applying for disability benefits or getting medical care.

Reporting changes

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 it 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

Reapplying or Recertification

When you get Colorado Works benefits, every six months you will be sent a Notice to Reapply, which may also be called a Reapplication, Redetermination, or Recertification Notice. To keep getting Colorado Works benefits, you must answer questions about whether there are any changes to your household, job status, other income, and expenses. You can do this online through your Colorado Peak account or on your smartphone using the MyCOBenefits app (available from Google Play or Apple's App Store). At least once a year, you will need to speak with an eligibility worker again as part of the reapplying/recertification process, to make sure you still qualify for Colorado Works.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

If you work and earn a little money, Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) might help lower your federal and state income taxes. Even if you don’t earn enough money to have to pay federal and state income taxes, you might get money back through the federal and state EITCs. Many people who qualify for EITCs don’t get them, because they don’t know they could or they don't file their taxes. Your Colorado Works case manager can help you decide if you might qualify for the EITCs, and how to get help filing your taxes. Learn more about EITCs and other tax credits in DB101's article on Building Your Assets and Wealth.

Learn more