How to Apply for Unemployment in Delaware

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Delaware workers affected by COVID-19 can claim unemployment benefits to hold them over.

Delaware workers affected by COVID-19 can claim unemployment benefits to hold them over.

Delaware is feeling the effects of COVID-19, just like the rest of the country. Thousands of workers must now stay at home to slow the pandemic's spread, and that means forgoing the paychecks they rely upon. Unemployment may not give you all the income you're used to, but it can help make the next few months without employment income a little easier.

This guide explains everything you need to know about applying for unemployment benefits in Delaware, including the eligibility requirements, application process, and how much you can expect to receive.

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

Delaware workers must fulfill these requirements to get unemployment benefits:

  1. You must have lost your income or have your hours significantly reduced through no fault of your own.
  2. You must be willing and able to work and actively seeking work (see note below).
  3. Your past earnings must meet the standards explained below.

If you are unable to work because you or a family member is sick with COVID-19, you may be eligible for unemployment during the pandemic. Similarly, if your workplace has closed, even temporarily, or you cannot find childcare due to school closures, you should apply for benefits. 

Delaware has waived its work-search requirement due to public health concerns, but you still need to meet the other two requirements.

The state looks at your past earnings during a base period -- the first four of the last five complete quarters before you applied for unemployment. For those who apply in March, this is October 2018 to September 2019, and for those who apply in April, it's January to December 2019.

You must have earned at least $720 during the base period in order to qualify for unemployment benefits.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

Create an account on the Delaware Department of Labor website to apply for unemployment benefits. Have the following information on hand:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your address
  • Your work history for the last 18 months, including names and addresses of employers
  • Bank account information for direct deposits

You must log in to your online account every week to request your benefits. There's usually a one-week waiting period, but it's been waived during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits?

The least you'll get in weekly Delaware unemployment benefits is $20 and the most is $400. Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is calculated by dividing your combined income during your two highest-earning quarters in your base period by 46. So if you earned $7,000 in your two highest quarters, you could expect to earn about $150 per week. 

There's more information, including a chart to help you figure out how much you can expect in the claimant handbook.

How long can I collect unemployment benefits?

Normally, you can claim Delaware unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks, but during times of high unemployment, the state enables workers to claim benefits for longer. Keep in mind that the CARES Act also extends your benefit period by an additional 13 weeks.

Remember, if you find new employment, you must stop claiming unemployment benefits.

What if my unemployment claim is denied?

If your unemployment claim is denied, you have 10 calendar days in which to appeal the decision. You must submit your appeal in writing along with your signature, and you should continue to file weekly benefit claims.

If you have difficult financial decisions to make as a result of COVID-19 and believe you might be eligible for Delaware unemployment benefits, apply now. It could ease the pressure in the months to come.

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