How Long Do You Have to Work to Get Unemployment in Delaware?


Unlike many other states, Delaware does not mandate that you work for a specific period of time before losing your job in order to qualify for unemployment benefits. Instead, eligibility, as well as your weekly benefit amount, is based on your income during the "base period" preceding the job loss.

Base Period Compensation

  • Your base period for Delaware unemployment is defined as the first four of the last five quarters before you file for benefits. If, for instance, you file for benefits during the second quarter of the year, or between April and June, your base period will be the 12 month period of the prior year, and your weekly unemployment benefits will equal 1/46th of your compensation during the two highest quarters in that base period.

    Delaware law sets the minimum weekly unemployment compensation at $20 per week. This means that to be eligible for the lowest possible weekly benefit, you must have earned at least 46 times $20, or $920, during your two best quarters combined within the base period.

Ready to Work

  • To continue receiving benefits, you must be ready to work at all times. This means that you should be available to report to job interviews or training sessions. You may also be asked to contact the Delaware Department of Labor's Division of Employment and Training for registration. When a suitable job is offered, you must also accept such offers, or you may be required to give up your weekly unemployment compensation. The jobs that are considered suitable are those commensurate with your education, experience and prior compensation and are defined by Delaware employment law.


  • Delaware's Department of Labor does not impose a limit on the duration of unemployment benefits. Instead, there is a limit on how much money you can receive. You may continue to receive benefits as long as the total amount you have been paid does not exceed 26 times your weekly unemployment benefits. You could, for instance, receive unemployment compensation for 4 months, or 16 weeks, and find temporary work for the next 3 months. Thereafter, you would be eligible to receive further benefits for another 10 weeks.


  • If you believe that your unemployment insurance claims have been wrongfully denied, you are entitled to a hearing. Submit a written appeal or appear in person at your local unemployment insurance office within ten calendar days of the rejection. Since every appeal must be signed, the Department of Labor does not accept emailed appeals. While you are waiting for your appeal to be heard, you must continue to file weekly claims. These claims will be retroactively accepted if your appeal is upheld.


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