Unemployment benefits for self-employed will be available soon in Delaware

DOVER — The long-awaited system to allow independent contractors and self-employed individuals to apply for unemployment benefits will be ready next week. According to the Delaware Department of Labor, individuals who work for themselves can file for unemployment starting Monday.

While these workers normally are not eligible for jobless benefits, a federal stimulus measure has temporarily opened the process up to them as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Before they can receive the benefits, individuals must first apply through the normal system and be denied. From there, they will receive more information about seeking expanded benefits. Visit www.ui.delawareworks.com to submit an initial application.

Self-employed individuals and others who have already applied and been denied do not need to try again — they will receive letters detailing the next steps soon.

Workers who are impacted by COVID-19, either directly by catching it or indirectly such as being forced to remain home to care for a child who would normally be in school, are eligible.

Eligible Delawareans will receive $600 per week from the federal government and then an additional sum ranging from $133 to $400 a week.

The $600 benefit is only available through July 25. Depending upon eligibility, the other portion may last through Dec. 26.

Payments will be retroactive to March 15, although the added $600 benefit will only be retroactive to April 4.

Applicants will need their Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (Citizenship and Immigration Services Number for non-citizens) and earnings for 2019, which may include tax returns, pay stubs and bank statements. Bank account and routing numbers will also be needed for direct deposit. Companies must provide proof of ownership or a valid business license.

More than 75,000 Delawareans have filed for unemployment since the first coronavirus case was announced in Delaware March 11.

To view the Department of Labor’s most updated frequently asked questions regarding unemployment insurance and to be notified when the application for benefits is available for self-employed individuals and independent contractors, text uifacts to 555888.

More information is available by emailing dol.delaware.gov or ui.delawareworks.com or calling 761-8446, although email is recommended.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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