Collecting Unemployment Benefits in Delaware

Learn the rules for unemployment eligibility, benefit amounts, and more in Delaware.

Did you recently lose your job in Delaware? If so, you might be eligible for unemployment benefits, which are available to employees who are temporarily out of work through no fault of their own. Although the basic rules for unemployment are similar across the board, the eligibility rules, prior earnings requirements, benefit amounts, and other details vary from state to state. Below you’ll find information on collecting unemployment in Delaware.

Eligibility for Unemployment in Delaware

In Delaware, the Division of Unemployment Insurance handles unemployment benefits and determines eligibility on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must meet the following three eligibility requirements in order to collect unemployment benefits in Delaware:

• You must have earned at least a minimum amount in wages before you were unemployed.

• You must be unemployed through no fault of your own, as defined by Delaware law.

• You must be able and available to work, and you must be actively seeking employment.

Past Earnings

Virtually all states look at your recent work history and earnings during a one-year "base period" to determine your eligibility for unemployment. (For more information, see Nolo's article,  Unemployment Compensation: Understanding the Base Period). In Delaware, as in most states, the base period is the earliest four of the five complete calendar quarters before you filed your benefits claim. For example, if you file your claim in September of 2015, the base period would be from April 1, 2014, through March 31, 2015.

To qualify for benefits in Delaware, you must have earned at least 36 times your weekly benefit amount during the entire base period.

Reasons for Unemployment

In Delaware, as in other states, you must be out of work through no fault of your own to qualify for unemployment benefits.

  • Layoffs.  If you were laid off, lost your job in a reduction-in-force (RIF), or got "downsized" for economic reasons, you will meet this requirement.
  • Firing.  If you were fired because you lacked the skills to perform the job or simply weren't a good fit, you won’t necessarily be barred from receiving benefits. However, if you were fired for just cause relating to your job, you may be disqualified from receiving benefits. In Delaware, just cause may include violations of company rules, lateness, or unexcused absences.
  • Quitting.  If you quit your job, you will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless you had good cause. In general, good cause means that your reason for leaving the position was job-related and was so compelling that you had no other choice than to leave. For example, if you left your job because of dangerous working conditions or sexual harassment that your employer refused to stop, you may be able to collect benefits. You may also remain eligible for benefits if you quit for certain compelling personal reasons, including your own disability or illness, to care for a family member who is disabled or ill, to relocate with a spouse (depending on the circumstances), or to escape domestic violence.

Availability to Work

To keep collecting unemployment benefits, you must be able to work, available to work, and looking for employment. (For more information, see Nolo's article,  Collecting Unemployment: Are You Able, Available, and Actively Seeking Work?) If you’re offered a suitable position, you must accept it. In Delaware, whether work is suitable will depend on your work history, training, education, and skills.

You must make a reasonable effort to secure work, including at least one job contact each week. You must keep track of your job contacts in a work search log, which may be audited at any time by the Division.

Amount and Duration of Unemployment Benefits in Delaware

If you are eligible to receive unemployment, your weekly benefit rate is the total amount you earned during the two highest paid quarters of the base period, divided by 46. The current minimum benefit is $20 per week; the current maximum is $330 per week.

You may receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. (In times of very high unemployment, additional weeks of benefits may be available.)

How to File a Claim for Unemployment Benefits in Delaware

You may file your claim for unemployment benefits online or at a local unemployment office. You can find online filing information, as well as addresses of local offices where you can file in person, at the website of the  Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance.

After you file, you will receive a package of paperwork, including a monetary determination stating the wages reported by all of your employers during your base period and your potential weekly benefit amount.

How to Appeal a Denial of Unemployment Benefits in Delaware

If your unemployment claim is denied, you have ten days to file an appeal. A hearing will be conducted before an appeals referee, where you will be able to present evidence and witness testimony. The referee will then issue a decision on your appeal and send it to you by mail.

If you disagree with the referee’s decision, you may appeal it within ten days to the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. If you disagree with the Board’s decision, you may file an appeal in court.

For more information on the unemployment process, including current eligibility requirements and benefits amounts, visit the  Division of Unemployment Insurance website.

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