Delaware Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

In this article...
  • Unemployment benefits provide temporary financial assistance for individuals who've lost a job. Learn how and where to apply for Delaware unemployment benefits.

For workers who’ve lost a job, unemployment benefits can be essential, helping them satisfy basic financial obligations while they look for work. The Delaware Department of Labor oversees the state’s unemployment program, handling claims and making payments to qualified individuals. Unemployed Delaware residents may also receive assistance in their job search through the department's Division of Employment and Training, where they can access training opportunities, job listings and resume-creation tools.

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Delaware?

Workers who become unemployed or experience a significant reduction in work hours through no fault of their own may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits in Delaware. However, individuals must meet stringent personal and monetary eligibility requirements to qualify for assistance, and guidelines may differ for seasonal or self-employed workers, and workers who've voluntarily separated from an employer.

Personal Eligibility Requirements

Only applicants who've worked in Delaware within the last 12 months qualify for benefits. Individuals must be available and physically able to work, and be actively seeking a new job, although exceptions may be made for individuals who become disabled after separating from their employer. The Department of Labor may also require some claimants to register with the Division of Employment and Training, and participate in applicable programs.

Monetary Eligibility Requirements

Under the Delaware Unemployment Compensation Law, applicants must submit a form detailing the wages they received during the base period, which is defined as the last four of the five consecutive calendar quarters before a claim is filed. To qualify for benefits, workers must have been paid at least 36 times their weekly benefit amount by a covered employer during the base period. If a worker’s wages weren’t sufficient to qualify for benefits during this time frame, an alternate base period may be assigned.

Eligibility Requirements for Seasonal Workers

In Delaware, seasonal employment refers to work that involves the initial processing of agricultural or seafood products. Under state guidelines, seasonal workers who've lost a job may file for unemployment benefits if at least 75% of their base wages came from seasonal work. However, workers can only receive benefits during the months they’re typically employed.

Rules for Self-Employed Workers

Delaware's unemployment benefits are intended for traditionally employed workers. Self-employed Delaware workers, including small business owners, aren’t eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

Voluntary Separation of Employment

Workers who voluntarily quit a job aren’t typically eligible to receive unemployment compensation in Delaware. However, exceptions may apply to individuals who quit a job for any of the following reasons:

  • An unsafe working environment
  • Diagnosis of a medical condition that prohibits working
  • Significant changes to job responsibilities that the employee didn't agree to
  • Circumstance involving family or domestic violence

Maintaining Eligibility

Workers who've been approved for benefits must adhere to strict program rules to continue receiving payments from the state. To ensure continued enrollment in Delaware's unemployment program, beneficiaries should do the following:

  • Submit weekly payment requests each Sunday after filing the initial claim.
  • Actively seek work.
  • Maintain logs of weekly job search contacts.
  • Report a change of address or phone number immediately.
  • Return phone calls from the unemployment office promptly.
  • Respond to requests for additional information.
  • Participate in DET training and testing when requested.
  • Report any wages received from odd jobs, self-employment and other work.

Failure to adhere to Delaware’s unemployment benefit guidelines may result in denial or premature termination of benefits.

How Do You Apply for Delaware Unemployment Benefits?

Unemployed workers can apply for benefits online at the Delaware Department of Labor by opening the dropdown menu for Services and clicking: File a New or Reopened Claim Online. Applicants should read all information carefully and answer the questions accurately, including the reason for termination.

The state typically requires individuals to provide the following information when applying:

  • Social security number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Pay stubs
  • Employer information form

If the state requests additional documentation, applicants may email the applicable documents to Workers who have questions about the process or who are experiencing difficulty applying should contact the state’s Unemployment Insurance Information Hotline for their county of residence. Applicants who wish to receive their payment through direct deposit or a state debit card should enroll in one of these payment methods through Delaware Works.

What to Expect After Applying for Benefits?

Once the application has been submitted, applicants should receive a confirmation number, which lets them track the status of their claim. Within a week, claimants should also receive three separate mailings, including:

  • A claim confirmation letter
  • A notice of financial determination
  • The Delaware UC Handbook

While waiting for their application to be approved, applicants should begin filing weekly benefits claims, which may be done online using WebBenefits or by calling the applicable TeleBenefits phone number. Determinations typically take between 4 and 6 weeks, depending on the volume of applications.

How Much Do You Get From Delaware Unemployment?

Workers can expect to receive benefits equal to 1/46 of the wages they earned during the two highest-earning quarters in the base period. However, the state currently has a weekly minimum payout of $20 and a weekly maximum of $400.

Individuals may receive unemployment benefits for up to one year. However, total benefits are capped at the lesser of:

  • 26 times a worker’s weekly benefit amount
  • 50% of a worker's base period wages

As part of the application process, Delaware issues a monetary determination, which details the wages earned during each relevant calendar quarter. For approved applicants, this formal determination also indicates the weekly benefit amount, maximum benefits available and the duration of payments.

What Happens if Unemployment Claims in Delaware Are Denied?

Workers who’ve been denied unemployment have the right to appeal the decision. The request for an appeals hearing must be submitted in person at a Department of Labor office, by email to or by standard postal mail within 10 days of the date reflected on the Notice of Determination.  

After an appeal is filed, a hearing is typically scheduled within several weeks. All interested parties receive a Notice of Hearing by mail, which includes the date, time and location of the proceeding, and an overview of the issues to be resolved. Workers may request permission to attend via telephone, or they can ask to reschedule the hearing for a different date. Requests to reschedule should be submitted in writing, and claimants should provide several viable alternative dates.

Workers appealing a denial are also entitled to:

  • Hire an attorney
  • Request an interpreter
  • Ask anyone with relevant knowledge to appear as a witness
  • Question and cross-examine all witnesses

Claimants should continue to file weekly benefits claims during the appeals process.

After the hearing, the assigned appeals referee informs all parties of the outcome by mail. Workers who receive an adverse decision may escalate the appeal to Delaware's Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. Further appeals may be directed to the state’s Superior and Supreme courts.

Instructions for these additional appeals are included in the denial letter. However, if an individual is ultimately determined to be ineligible, they must repay any benefits that have previously been issued. 

Read More
A woman uses her computer while reviewing paper copies of bills
Learn more about unemployment benefits in New Mexico, how to qualify and how much you may be eligible ...
A doctor crouches to speak with young boy and his mother
Find out whether or not you're eligible for unemployment insurance benefits in Mississippi. Learn ...
A father and adult son embrace and walk on the beach
Learn more about unemployment benefits in the District of Columbia, eligibility requirements, how ...