DOL Releases Guidance for Independent Contractors and Self-employed Seeking Unemployment Through the CARES Act

[WILMINGTON, DE] THURSDAY APRIL 16, 2020 – The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act recently passed by the United States Congress and signed into law on March 27th provides unemployment assistance to independent contractors and those self-employed who have been affected by the Coronavirus.

Most state’s unemployment systems determine eligibility and process payments for workers whose wages are reported by their employers and verified through the Division of Unemployment Insurance (DUI). In order to begin processing claims for this new category of eligible individuals and prevent fraud, abuse and identity theft, the Federal US Department of Labor requires that states design new systems to pay benefits to independent contractors/self-employed and ensure the validity of their claims.

Delaware Department of Labor (DOL) is currently working with a vendor to design and test new technologies that will integrate with our existing benefits claims system. This technology will allow the Division of Unemployment Insurance (DUI) to verify earnings reported to the IRS and determine the eligibility of independent contractors and the self-employed to apply for benefits under the (CARES) Act.

We anticipate that these workers will be able to apply through this new system within 3-6 weeks. We will provide more details regarding implementation and how to apply on our website next week.

“The hardship that the coronavirus pandemic has placed on Delaware workers is unprecedented. These workers will receive the much-needed assistance provided to them under the CARES Act. We are working around the clock to make that happen; Hopefully, ahead of schedule” said Cerron Cade, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Labor.

Once the system is ready to receive applications from those who are self-employed or are independent contractors, DOL will require specific documentation available at the time you submit your application online. The documents you will need are as follows:

  • Driver license or State issued Identification
  • Your last year’s income tax statement or quarterly earnings statement
  • State of Delaware Business License number
  • Current bank account number and routing number

To date, DOL has processed and paid 70% of initial claims for benefits submitted to their offices since March 1st and is currently paying more than $30 million in benefits to affected workers each week. The agency has received more than 60,000 claims in 4 weeks; nearly double the total number of claims received in 2019.

To view our most updated frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) regarding unemployment insurance, and to be notified when the application for benefits is available for self-employed individuals and independent contractors in Delaware, text uifacts to 555888.

Additional resources are available on our websites at or You can also call our offices at 302-761-8446. Call hold time is longer than usual. For a quicker response please email Include your full name, including middle initial, contact information and claim number.

To process an initial claim for unemployment benefits please visit

Delawareans with questions about coronavirus [COVID-19] or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899 or 711 for people who are hearing impaired from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or email For the latest on Delaware’s response, go to

Due to Widespread Community Transmission of COVID-19, DHSS Ending All Walk-in Access to Public Offices

Customer Service Needs to Be Met by Appointment, Phone, Email or Online; Crisis Services Continue

NEW CASTLE (April 5, 2020) – The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is announcing that all walk-in access to its public offices will end beginning on Monday, April 6, 2020, because of the potential risk for clients and DHSS employees in having in-person interactions. Client needs will now be met in person by appointment only, or through phone, email or online interactions, except for crisis services, emergency cases, or for people without phone or computer access.

“To keep both our clients and our employees safe, this is the right move for our department and for the clients we are committed to serving every day,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. “With widespread community transmission in Delaware, it is a public health risk to have our usual in-person interaction. Our offices will have signs on the doors to explain how staff can be reached if clients have an emergency, or for those who don’t have immediate access to a phone or computer.”

Outreach efforts across DHSS, such as the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health’s Mobile Crisis Services, the Division of Social Services’ Community Partner Support Unit and the Office of Animal Welfare’s animal control services are continuing. Appointments through DSAMH already scheduled are still expected to occur through telehealth or in person as needed. Admissions and discharges to DHSS’ 24/7 facilities also will continue as needed.

To screen or apply for many DHSS services, Delawareans are encouraged to use DHSS’ online portal, ASSIST. Seniors and individuals with disabilities can also visit the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource’s website or call 1-800-223-9074. For other services (by division), here is how clients and potential clients can make inquiries:

Division of Social Services (Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, General Assistance, Purchase of Care subsidized child care)

  • Screen for and apply for benefits: ASSIST website, call 1-866-843-7212 or your local office
  • State Service Center Customer service (issues with existing benefits): 1-866-843-7212
  • To make an appointment: Call your local State Service Center

Division of Child Support Services

  • Customer service or to make an appointment: 302-577-7171
  • More Information:

Division of State Service Centers

  • For emergency service assistance or to make an appointment: 1-866-843-7212 or your local State Service Center

Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance

  • Screen for and apply for benefits: ASSIST; or 1-800-372-2022 to make an appointment
  • Health Benefit Manager: 1-800-996-9969
  • Managed Care Member Service Highmark Health Options: 1-844-325-6251
  • AmeriHealth Caritas Delaware: 1-844-211-0966
  • Long-Term Care Medicaid: apply using ASSIST or 1-866-940-8963

Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (crisis, emotional support, services)

  • Appointments: or 1-800-652-2929
  • Customer service (issues with existing services): 1-855-649-7944; admissions and payments: 302-255-9458

Division of Developmental Disabilities Services

  • Apply for services or to make an appointment: 302-744-9700 or 1-866-552-5758, Option 2
  • Eligibility appeals: 302-744-9628
  • Customer service (issues with existing benefits): Call your case manager

Division for Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities

  • For all questions, referrals, and access to your existing case manager: Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center or call 1-800-223-9074

Division of Public Health (Women, Infants, and Children – WIC, immunizations, HIV/AIDS, TB, Health Care Connection, Office of Animal Welfare, etc.)

  • Apply for or seek services: Call your local Division of Public Health office
  • To make an appointment: Call your local Division of Public Health office
  • Office of Animal Welfare’s Delaware Animal Services (animal-related concerns): 302-255-4646

Division for the Visually Impaired

  • Apply for services, make an appointment or customer service: 302-255-9800 or your case manager

Division of Health Care Quality

  • Office of Health Facilities Licensing: Hotline:1-800-942-7373; office: 302-292-393
  • Office of Long-Term Care Resident’s Protection: Hotline:1-877-453-0012; Background Check Center: 302-421-7405; CNA Registry: 302-421-7403
  • Division of Health Care Quality Customer Service: 302-421-7400

DHSS Constituent Relations

  • If you have trouble reaching any division or have an issue with your benefits or services being delayed or denied, please reach out to our Constituent Services:

Also starting Monday, the Department of Health and Social Services and the Division of Public Health will begin a new collaboration with the United Way of Delaware to better triage incoming calls related to COVID-19. Anyone with a question about COVID-19 should call Delaware 2-1-1, 1-800-560-3372, 7-1-1 for individuals with a hearing impairment, or text your ZIP code to 898-211. Delaware 2-1-1 has increased its hours, added operators, and now is available seven days a week to serve Delawareans. For the latest coronavirus updates in Delaware, go to: