Colorado Earned Income Tax Credit #
Colorado is among 29 states offering a local version of the tax credit, but it went hiatus in 1999. It was only in 2013 that Colorado brought back its earned income credit following a 15-year absence.
The state EITC offers a credit based on 10% of the federal credit amount and is fully refundable, which means any Colorado family without income tax liability can receive the entire EITC amount as a refund.
Colorado may increase its state-level EITC to 20% (up from 15 percent) starting in 2022. The credit will temporarily increase even further to 25% between 2023 and 2025, before reverting to a 20% credit in 2026. 1
Colorado residents may contact Colorado United Way 2-1-1 Help Centers by dialing 2-1-1, to find out if they are eligible for the EITC and to be connected to free tax preparation services.
Colorado Food Assistance Program #
The Food Assistance Program assists low-income individuals and families in Colorado who need assistance purchasing the food needed for a nutritionally adequate diet. The program is offered in at least one location in all Colorado counties.
Monthly benefits are issued on an electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, called the Colorado Quest Card and are used like cash at any participating grocery stores to buy food.
Unless otherwise exempt, all applicants who apply for food assistance in Colorado must register for work, accept an offer of suitable work and take part in the Employment First program.
Colorado Works #
Colorado Works is Colorado’s TANF program that serves low-income families with children by providing income assistance and supportive services to help participants become self-sufficient.
Benefits may be provided for single and two parent families, pregnant women, and relatives caring for minor children — up to $508 a month for a family of three.
How do I get cash assistance in Colorado?
If you are a resident of Colorado in need of assistance, please contact your County’s Social Services/Human Services office or apply online at Colorado PEAK for expedited processing.
Colorado Medicaid #
Medicaid is free or low cost public health insurance for low-income Coloradans who could not otherwise afford it. It covers doctor visits, emergency care, preventive care, and other procedures and treatments.
As Colorado is expanding Medicaid coverage, Medicaid is now available to eligible Coloradans age 19-64 with income up to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL).
How do I apply for Colorado Medicaid?
Colorado is operating a State-Based Marketplace, known as Connect for Health Colorado — through which you can apply for Medicaid, CHP+ or other private health insurance.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 29, you can buy Colorado Young Adult or CYA plans. These plans typically have a high deductible and lower premium, and are designed to protect you in a high-cost emergency.
Colorado Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) #
Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) is a low-cost health insurance program for uninsured Colorado children ages 18 and under whose families earn or own too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance.
Depending on your monthly income, you may have to pay an enrollment fee and copays ranging from $1 to $30 when you receive services and prescriptions.
In Colorado, children with family incomes up to 265% of poverty are eligible for CHP+. Pregnant women may apply for CHP+ Prenatal Care Program. All pregnancy care is free, including prenatal care, labor and delivery, and visits after you deliver.
CHP+ Customer Service
Children under 19 and pregnant women may also receive temporary coverage — Health First Colorado or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) — under the Presumptive Eligibility (PE) program. Application can be made at any PE-approved clinics, health centers, and community resource centers.
Colorado Head Start/Early Head Start #
Colorado Head Start provides preschool children of low-income families with a comprehensive program to meet their emotional, social, health, nutritional, and psychological needs.
In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must be a resident of the state of Colorado and be responsible for a child who is too young for public school.
Many Head Start programs also provide Early Head Start, which serves infants, toddlers, and pregnant women and their families who have incomes below the poverty level.
How do I apply for Head Start in Colorado?
To find a Head Start or Early Head Start program near you, call 1-866-763-6481 or use the Head Start Locator to find the program serving your community. 2
Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) #
Colorado CCAP is available for children under age 13 or up to age 18 for children with special needs whose parent is employed or enrolled in the Colorado Works Program.
CCCAP serves families earning less than 180% or less of the federal poverty guideline and may not serve those with income of over 85% of the State Median Income.
Once accepted into the program, you are expected to contribute a portion of your child care costs based on the size of the family, the amount of your income, and the number of children in care.
How do I apply for child care assistance in Colorado?
If you are a resident of Colorado in need of child care, you may appy in person at your County’s Social Services/Human Services office or apply online at Colorado PEAK for expedited processing.
Colorado Housing Choice Voucher Program #
The Housing Choice Voucher Program, formerly Section 8, provides rental assistance to income-eligible Coloradans by subsidizing a portion of their monthly rent and utilities through vouchers.
The application is a lottery-based process where random drawings are held once a year. If your number is selected, you will be notified through the mail within 120 days after the date of the drawing.
Once issued with a housing voucher, it becomes your responsibility to find a suitable housing unit of your choice, in the community of your choice, where the owner agrees to rent under the program.
How do I apply for Section 8 housing in Colorado?
To apply for housing voucher, visit your local Public Housing Agency (PHA). Some PHAs have long waiting lists, so you may want to apply at more than one PHA.
Colorado Special Program for Women, Infants & Children (WIC) #
WIC helps families with special checks for buying healthy foods to supplement their diet. Other benefits include nutrition education, free screening and referral.
In order to participate in the Colorado WIC Program, participants must meet income guidelines and be pregnant women, new mothers, infants or children under age five and individually determined by a health professional to be at nutrition risk.
WIC clinics statewide are now issuing eWIC cards to all WIC families which they can use like a debit card to purchase WIC approved foods at authorized WIC grocery stores.
For eligibility and appointment information, call
Colorado Low Income Energy Assistance (LEAP) #
LEAP is a federally funded program that helps eligible low-income Colorado families pay a portion of their winter home heating costs. The program runs from November 1 to April 30 each year.
Families with incomes up to 60% of the state median income level are eligible but priority is given to the elderly, disabled and households with children.
How do I apply for LEAP in Colorado?
LEAP pays the highest benefits to those with the highest primary heating fuel costs. To find out if you are eligible for LEAP, please call 1-866-432-8435.
Colorado Unemployment Insurance #
Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a “temporary wage replacement” program that pays benefits to Coloradans who have lost their job through no fault of their own — for up to 26 weeks.
Benefits are paid directly to your own personal Colorado Automated Payment (CAP) Card which is automatically issued when you file for benefits.
How do I sign up for unemployment in Colorado?
To get an estimate of how much your UI Benefits will be before you file a new claim, use this estimator. To file a claim, click here or call 303-318-9000 for assistance.
Colorado College Opportunity Fund (COF) #
The College Opportunity Trust Fund (COF) provides a stipend to eligible undergraduate students attending a Colorado participating public institution or private school.
The stipend pays a portion of your total resident tuition — capped at 145 credit hours. The current tuition stipend is $40 per credit hour at participating public colleges or $20 per credit hour at participating private colleges.
How do I apply for the College Opportunity Fund?
All eligible students must complete the COF application and authorize use of funds to receive the stipend. For additional information, call 720-264-8550.
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