State Says Self-Employed, Gig Worker Unemployment Benefits Could Start Monday

The Delaware Department of Labor is announcing the launch of a new unemployment insurance benefits system that will process claims for independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and others as detailed in the CARES Act. These individuals can file benefits claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance beginning the week of May 11, 2020.
Under federal guidelines, for workers to be eligible for PUA, they must first apply for benefits through the traditional unemployment system and be denied. Applicants will then receive a letter of denial for traditional unemployment benefits.
The denial letter will trigger a second letter explaining their potential eligibility for PUA and specific instructions on how to apply. The letter will explain information on the following:
  • How to access the new PUA Benefits website
  • Login details for logging into the website.
  • Documentation required when applying for PUA benefits.
What are the requirements for me to be eligible to get PUA benefits?
  • To be eligible for PUA benefits you must submit a self-certification as part of your PUA claim attesting that you meet one of the following COVID-19 reasons:
  • I have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and am seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • A member of my household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • I am providing care for a family member or a member of my household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • A child or other person in my household for which I have primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and the school or other facility care is required for me to work;
  • I am unable to reach my place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • I am unable to reach my place of employment because I have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  • I was scheduled to commence employment and do not have a job or am unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • I have become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of my household has died as a direct result of
  • I had to quit my job as a direct result of COVID-19; or My place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The system will be online and ready to take applications as of the week of May 11, 2020.
What Should I Do Now? 
If you are covered under PUA and have not applied through our traditional unemployment system, please visit to apply online.
Note: If you are eligible for benefits under PUA, have applied for unemployment benefits through the current system, and received a denial of benefits or received a determination letter showing “Zero” or insufficient wages, you have already completed the first step of this process and will receive a PUA application letter once your claim has been  transferred to the new system.
How much will my benefit be? 
Workers eligible for PUA benefits could receive anywhere from $733.00 to $1000.00 per week in total benefits. The minimum weekly benefit amount is $133 per week, it can be as high as $400 if documentation is provided to support a higher weekly benefit amount. Pay statements, W2s, 1099s, and tax returns are examples of documentation that can be submitted to support a higher weekly benefit amount. In addition to the weekly benefit amount, eligible individuals will receive an additional $600 per week in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
Note: Eligible claimants will only receive the additional $600 benefit through the week ending July 25, 2020. Your approved unemployment insurance benefits may last, depending upon eligibility through the week ending December 26, 2020.
Will payments be retroactive?
Delaware’s system will allow applicants to apply for benefits back to the week of March 15th, 2020 when Governor Carney issued the first amendment to Delaware’s State of Emergency declaration. However, the added $600 benefit will only be retroactive to the week ending April 4, 2020.
What Are My Next Steps?
Submit your initial claim for Unemployment Benefits today using the current unemployment insurance benefits application system at If you are covered under PUA and have not filed for traditional unemployment; You must first create an account and receive a claim number created in the existing system before submitting your application to receive PUA benefits. Again, if you have already completed this step, you will receive a letter with further instructions.
Gather the Proper Documents.
The new PUA unemployment benefits application will require you to provide proof of identification. Please have ready the information below.
Applicants must provide (If applicable):
  • Social security number or ITIN
  • If you are not a citizen of the United States, your A Number (USCIS Number)
  • Your residential address
  • Your mailing address (if different from residential address)
  • Your telephone number
  • Your email address
  • Your date of birth
  • Your earnings records for 2019, which include (if applicable):
  • Tax returns
  • 1099 forms
  • Pay stubs
  • Bank statements
  • W2
  • If you want to use direct deposit for payment, your bank account and routing numbers. All others will receive payment via debit card.
  • If you operate as a business entity, a valid business license or proof of ownership.
To view our most updated frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) regarding unemployment insurance, click here.