Iowa Unemployment

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

  • You are totally or partially unemployed.
  • You have worked and earned a minimum amount of wages in work covered by unemployment tax during the past 18 months.
  • You have lost your job through no fault of your own.
  • You are able and available for work.
  • You are registered for work at your local Workforce Development Center, unless work search is waived. You can register for work on-line by using the Employment Registration Services application. 
  • You are actively seeking work unless work search is waived.

Find Out If You Are Eligible For Unemployment   Click this link to find out: Am I Eligible To Collect Unemployment Benefits?

Have Your Benefits Run Out?   Click this link to find out how to get an unemployment extension: Unemployment Extension

How do I file for unemployment benefits?

What will you need to file your application? You need the following:

  • Your Social Security number;
  • The name, payroll address and telephone number of your most recent employer;
  • The first and last date you worked for that employer;
  • An Alien Registration number if you are NOT a U.S. citizen or permanent refugee;
  • If you served on active duty in the U.S. military during the past 18 months, a DD214 (member copy 4);
  • If you worked for the federal government in the past 18 months, a Standard Form 8, if one was provided to you;
  • The names of any dependents that you claim as exemptions on your federal income tax return;

You may claim your spouse as a dependent if her/his gross wages were $120 or less in the week prior to filing your claim. Self-employment does not count as gross wages for dependent purposes.

File an Unemployment Benefit Claim Online

The fastest, most efficient way to apply for benefits (file your initial claim) is online. The Internet filing option is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- it's always open!

To be able to file a claim online you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • You must have worked in Iowa during the past 18 months (earned Iowa wages;
  • You must not have an existing unemployment claim in any other state with money (benefits) still available;
  • You must not have an existing Railroad Unemployment claim with any remaining money available;
  • If you served in the U.S. military during the past 18 months, you MUST have an Iowa residence;
  • If you have earned wages in more than one state in the past 18 months and you want those wages added to your claim, you must live in Iowa.

If you do not meet the criteria to file on-line, you should contact a local Workforce Development Center for additional assistance in filing your unemployment claim.

The first step in filing your new, initial claim on-line is to create an account. Before you begin, we suggest you review the frequently asked questions (FAQS) about filing on-line.

If you already have an account with, just log in. Otherwise, begin by setting up your account and then log in to begin entering your unemployment claim.

2. File an Unemployment Benefit Claim at a Workforce Development Center

You may file your initial claim for benefits at your Workforce Development Center. Many Workforce Development Centers hold regularly scheduled group claim sessions and will help you complete the forms. Or, you can use a computer in the Workforce Development Resource Center to file your application on-line.

3. File an Unemployment Benefit Claim Through Your Employer

Iowa Workforce Development has a program that allows employers to file an initial claim for a recently separated employee. Check with your employer to determine if they are participating in this new program.

Unemployment Office Contact Information

Iowa Unemployment Website:

Iowa Workforce Development
1000 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0209

Telephone: (515) 281-5387 or (800) JOB-IOWA

For Deaf and Hard Of Hearing, Use Relay 711

For unemployment insurance claim questions, contact:

For general questions, contact:

Maybe We Can Help: 

If you can't find the answer to your question, you can fill out the comment form below and I will answer your question ASAP, or you can ask the The Unemployment Expert or you can post your question in the Unemployment Forum


# joel 2010-12-30 14:00
Hello my name is Joel. I recently just moved back home to Phx,AZ because i reconciled with my wife. We were seperated for a year. Anyways, since being back in Phx i have had an unbelievably difficult time finding employment. I have no $ to pay my bills,to obtain personal medications,etc . I filed for unemployment,bu t it's in the determination status. What are your thoughts?
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# Jason 2011-10-02 19:56
I quit my job after being employed for 6 years and started another job. I've been there for 2 1/2 months and will be laid off soon because it's a seasonal job. Will I be able to get unemployment? Would it go off of my new job or my previous job?
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# ben 2011-11-13 14:48
I got fired from my job after only being there 2 months because I got hired at $10 hr and was doing two jobs and got a $2.75 pay decrease and told them that I wont do both jobs with the pay decrease. And recently fired me because I didn't do both jobs even though I said I wouldn't. I started there sometime in aug. And had a previous job before there from jan2011 to june 2011. And a job before that from april2010 to jan2011 is there any way to get unemployment?
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# danielle 2012-09-10 10:25
i havent quit but would i be eldigble if my quality and quantity are double what everyone is making(have papers to show) and ive talked to my managers about raises and what not and they said yes havent recieved anything but yet other employees get reconized for doing nothing
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# Ruth 2012-10-22 10:05
I am an Iowa resident but work in Illinois. I will be temporarily laid off for about three months. From which state will I draw unemployment benefits?
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# Connie 2012-11-18 13:29
I started working for a school bus transportation company about 3 months ago. Thanksgiving we get 3 days off, with one day paid vacation. The other 2 days are unpaid. Can I collect unemployment for the 2 days that are unpaid?
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# Terry 2012-12-02 15:20
if I live in illinois, worked in Iowa, and now the company is closed were do I file for unemployment. And, can I file online since there's a section that asks about my iowa residency?
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# clark 2012-12-06 10:07
i was laid off and filed for unemployment and was approved 2 weeks ago, i recieved my first payment today for only one week. do i get paid for the previous weeks i filed or did i just wait 2 weeks to get one check?
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# Michaela 2013-03-09 10:53
I will be moving back to Iowa in the next month. I currently live in Seattle. When I get to Iowa can I file for unemployment while I am looking for a job and do I file in Wa. or in IA? FYI- I have given my current employer my resignation do to moving.
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