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Gibbs v. United States Army

Superior Court of Delaware, Kent

December 23, 2014

NICHOLAS GIBBS, Appellant,
v.
UNITED STATES ARMY and the UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE APPEALS BOARD, Appellees

Submitted October 14, 2014.

Page 428

Upon the Appeal from the Decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board AFFIRMED.

Nicholas Gibbs, Pro se.

Paige J. Schmittinger, Esquire of the Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware; attorney for the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.

William L. Witham, Jr., Resident Judge.

Page 429

OPINION AND ORDER

William L. Witham, Jr., Resident Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Before the Court is the pro se appeal of Appellant Nicholas Gibbs (hereinafter " Appellant" ) from the decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (hereinafter " the Board" or " the UIAB" ) denying Appellant's appeal because military wages cannot be used in the determination of entitlement to unemployment benefits when an ex-servicemember has been deemed ineligible to receive such benefits. The issue of denial of unemployment benefits to an ex-servicemember of a military branch involves both Delaware state law and federal law, and is an issue novel to Delaware. For this reason, this Court has decided the matter requires a more extensive review.

BACKGROUND

On January 11, 2013, the Appellant was discharged from the Army under " other than honorable conditions." On January 5, 2014, the Appellant filed for unemployment benefits. The Claims Deputy made its decision on February 24, 2014, denying benefits to the Appellant because the military classified him as a person not entitled to any benefits, and therefore he may not use his military wages in the determination of any entitlement to unemployment insurance benefits. Appellant timely appealed.

On March 27, 2014, the Appeals Referee conducted a hearing with both the Appellant and the Division of Unemployment Insurance, as well as a representative for the Army. The Appellant testified that he supplied the Referee with his Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or a DD Form 214.[1] The history stated that the Appellant separated from the Army on January 11, 2013, his character of service was under " other than honorable conditions," and the narrative for separation was " in lieu of trial by court-martial." On February 13, 2014 Brian Hewitt, the Deputy Chief of the United States Army, advised the Division of Unemployment Insurance that the Appellant does not meet the eligibility for approval of unemployment compensation, resulting in Appellant's prior wages during service being invalid for purposes of qualifying for any sort of claim.[2]

The Division of Unemployment Insurance representative reviewed the DD Form 214 with the Appellant during the hearing and explained that because of his classification, he is not entitled to benefits. The representative with the Department of the Army also confirmed that the information in the letter from Deputy Chief ...


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