In 2011, Foxbusiness.com ranked the 10 best and 10 worst state unemployment insurance programs in the country. In the heart of the most recent recession, Delaware ranked among the worst. The survey cited the state’s method of deciding how much funding to allot for benefits. Delaware decides how much eligible unemployed workers receive based on the health of the state unemployment tax fund, which in times of economic troubles can mean less money for citizens.
This article will offer assistance on how to navigate the Delaware unemployment insurance program. We will help you take advantage of your right to assistance during a difficult time.
Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits in DE
To be eligible to receive unemployment benefits in Delaware, you must be unemployed, and:
- Have lost your job through no fault of your own
- You must be able and available to work
- You must actively pursue employment
- Any issues regarding your separation from work must be resolved
- Meet the monetary eligibility requirements
Explaining the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits in DE
Losing your job through no fault of your own is generally self-explanatory. If you were laid off or you were dismissed for lack of work, you meet this eligibility requirement. However, in certain situations, your employer may have dismissed you unfairly or no reasonable person could have continued working in that job.
Able and Available
You must be physically and mentally able to work. You must also be available to accept any reasonable job offer that you receive.
Actively looking for work
To remain eligible for benefits in Delaware, you must make actual contact with potential employers several times a week. You must keep a record of your contacts as the Department of Labor could ask to see evidence that you’ve been looking for work.
Delaware also requires that benefit applicants register with the Division of Employment and Training within three days of filing for benefits. You must be active in their programs while receiving benefits.
Resolving separation issues
When you apply for benefits, the state unemployment office will check for any issues regarding your separation from employment. You will be asked to complete a questionnaire about your job and file it online before benefits can be approved.
Monetary eligibility and the base period
As in most states, in Delaware you must meet an earnings requirement to be eligible for unemployment benefits. You have to earn a certain amount within a 12-month period called a “base period.”
Your base period is the first four of the last five quarters. So then, if your initial claim begins within a certain quarter, you will use the earnings from the previous year.
Alternative base period
If your earnings don’t meet the requirement using the standard base period calculation, you may still be eligible using another method. The Department will use earnings from the four quarters immediately preceding the effective date of your initial claim for benefits.
Amount and Duration of Unemployment Benefits in DE
Estimate Your Delaware Unemployment Benefit Amount
You may make an educated guess at the amount of benefits you may receive using a quick formula:
- Determine the base period for the claim you are filing using the chart in the illustration on the base period.
- Determine the amount of wages you were paid during the base period by calendar quarters.
- Determine the two quarters in which you were paid the highest wages
- Divide the wages paid to you in those two quarters by 46 to calculate approximately how much you will receive per
The Division will notify you of the amount they have determined you are eligible to receive. You may disagree with the monetary determination by the Division. You may appeal their decision. The Notice of Monetary Determination you receive about the amount you are eligible for is not meant to inform you that you have been awarded benefits. There may be other issues, and if you are eligible for benefits, you will receive notice separately.
Delaware mandates a maximum weekly benefit amount in the legislative code. The maximum benefit amount is currently $330 per week. The maximum number of weeks you may collect benefits is 26 weeks within a benefit year generally.
The state allows you to collect a total amount of benefits equal to 50% of your base period wages. If that amount is less than 26 weeks of your weekly benefit amount, that amount will be your maximum benefit amount.
During times of economic trouble, the federal government may approve of Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), which extends the amount of time you can receive benefits. The Delaware Department of Labor will have information available should conditions trigger an extension.
Part-time Work and Collecting Unemployment Benefits
Delaware allows you to collect unemployment and work part-time. You must report all wages earned during the time you are receiving benefits.
If your earnings from part-time work reach a certain threshold, the state will deduct a percentage of your benefits.
If your earnings from part-time work are greater than 1.5 times your weekly benefit amount, you will have to reopen your claim. You may do that online or in person.
Failure to report earnings can result in an overpayment. This means you either earned more wages than your weekly benefit amount or you were found to be ineligible after you began receiving benefits. You will have to repay an overpayment.
If you intentionally withhold information about your earnings, or lie about your reason for separation from work, and the misinformation results in you receiving unemployment benefits, the Department may bring fraud charges against you. This could result in jail time or losing the right to receive unemployment benefits.
Even if you make a mistake in reporting your information, and that mistake results in you receiving benefits, you’ll have to pay the money back to the state.
How to File for Unemployment Benefits in DE
In Delaware, the state allows you to file intial claims online at https://ui.delawareworks.com/. You must be otherwise eligible and have worked in only in the state during the past 18 months. You may file if you were separated from employment or if you are filing for benefits because your employer cut back significantly on your hours.
You may also file an initial claim in person at a Division of Unemployment Insurance office. However, you must file in person if you fit into the following categories:
- Are filing a partial claim through use of partial/low slips provided by your employer
- Are filing against a former military employer
- Are filing against a former federal civilian employer
- Are not a US citizen
- Were employed in another state during the preceding 18 months
- Are residing outside the United States
- Are filing for extended benefits such as Emergency Unemployment Compensation
If you were separated from the military or federal employment, you must present the appropriate separation paperwork when you visit the office. Everyone else will need to bring the appropriate identification and paperwork when applying for benefits in person (or online). These items include:
- Your social security number
- The name and address of your employer(s) over the last 18 months
- A telephone number
- A driver’s license or state-issued ID card
- Proof of your status to work legally in the United States
If you are successful in filing a claim, you will receive a notice via Email if you file online. A Division of Unemployment Insurance employee will inform you of your status if you file in person. You will also receive notice via mail.
Receiving Unemployment Benefits in DE
You have three options on being paid benefits.
- Direct Deposit
- Debit card
Each form has it’s advantages. Your personal situation should guide you on which to choose. If you have an active checking account, you may prefer Direct Deposit. The Visa ® debit card may work for you if you don’t have a checking account.
Reasons for a Denial of Unemployment Benefits in DE
There are several reasons the Division of Unemployment Insurance may deny benefits. Most often, you have failed to meet the basic eligibility requirements.
If your employer dismisses you with good reason or you voluntarily left work, you did not leave through “no fault of your own.” Therefore, you will not be eligible for benefits.
If you file while still employed, you are not separated and will be ineligible.
If you don’t qualify based on the monetary requirement, your benefits will be denied.
The Division requires you to certify your claim each week, often referred to as filing a weekly claim. You may still be denied benefits during this period if you fail to follow certain policies. You may be disqualified if you:
- Are unavailable to accept reasonable job offers (attending school, for example)
- Refuse a reasonable job offer
- Don’t participate in the Division’s job training programs/reemployment services
- Don’t respond to questions from the Division or don’t report to an office when they ask
Even if you believe you are disqualified for these reasons, you may still be eligible for benefits.
Fired but Still Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in DE
When your own actions cause your dismissal, such as a continual violation of your employer’s policy, the Division will likely deny your application for benefits. However, your employer may have dismissed you unfairly. For example, you may have only been late three times, violating your employer’s rules. However, the third time, your child needed to go to the emergency room. If you can show this with a doctor’s note or receipt from the hospital, you may be awarded benefits.
Quit but Still Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in DE
When you leave your job voluntarily, like accepting a buyout or quitting because you are moving, the Division is likely to deny you unemployment benefits. You may still be eligible if your employer did something or failed to do something that made it impossible for you to continue working. Your employer may, for example, have violated local safety ordinances. If you can show this with some kind of evidence, you may be eligible for benefits.
Weekly Certifications for Unemployment in DE
The Division of Unemployment Insurance in Delaware requires workers to file a weekly claim for benefits. You can do this by telephone (Telebenefits) or online (WebBenefits). By certifying your status each week, the state can make sure you continue to be eligible to receive benefits.
Use either Telebenefits or WebBenefits. The system will present you with a few questions to help you get your benefits that week. The state will want to know if you are still able and available to work, and that you are actively making job contacts or participating in training programs. You can reach the Telebenefits line at (302) 761–6576 or 1-800
One Week Waiting Period
The state requires you to wait one week before receiving benefits after they grant your initial claim. You must go through the weekly certification process even though you won’t receive benefits that week.
Job Training and Reemployment Programs in DE
The Division of Unemployment Insurance requires applicants for unemployment benefits to register for with the Division of Employment and Training. You must register within three business days of filing your claim.
If you receive benefits, you must register with the Reemployment Services program. A counselor with the program will select some registrants to receive assistance in finding a job. You must participate for the entire time you receive benefits. If you are called, a continual failure to report to the sessions could result in a loss of benefits.
The legislature in Delaware recognizes that some workers may have a more difficult time finding work after a layoff because of the nature of their work or changes in the economy. So then, the Department of Labor must identify those workers and provide assistance. This is called a Profiling Program, and if you are selected, you must participate.
What Happens if My Application for Unemployment is Denied
If the Division denies your claim for benefits, you have the opportunity to file an appeal. You may appeal the monetary determination or a denial of benefits. To start the process, you will request the appeal in person at a local Division office or by mail. If you file the request by mail, you must do it within 10 calendar days of receiving the denial.
The Appeals Division will send notice of the date, time and place of the hearing. You may request a telephone hearing. Instructions for making this request will be included in the notice. If there is a scheduling conflict, you have three days to notify the Appeals Division. Any party to the hearing – you, the Division of Unemployment Insurance or your former employer – may request a reschedule within that period.
Send your request to:
Department of Labor
Division of Unemployment Insurance
Lower Authority Appeals Unit
P.O. Box 9950 Wilmington, Delaware 19809
Fax: (302) 761-6635
If you are denied benefits, please visit our section on appealing benefits decision in Delaware.
For further information on how to file for unemployment benefits in Delaware, there are many resources for you.
Visit the Department of Labor’s unemployment insurance web site.
If you have not already done so, read the Unemployment Insurance handbook. It may answer any questions you have about special situations.
Contact the Division of Unemployment Insurance in person on the telephone or at a local office near you.