Iowa Unemployment Guide

If you've recently lost your job in Iowa, you may be eligible for Iowa Unemployment Insurance benefits. This is a guide to filing your claim for Iowa unemployment benefits. Since each situation may have its own unique circumstances, make sure you check with the contact numbers and websites listed below to make sure you get the maximum benefits you can claim.

Filing for Unemployment:

Unemployed Iowa workers can file an initial claim for unemployment benefits one of three ways:

  1. Online – using the site
  2. In Person – at a local Iowa Workforce Development Center
  3. Employer – Certain employers may file your application for you

File your claim right away after you've stopped working – don't delay. Your claim starts the week you file. Unemployment benefits are not retroactive, so if you delay you may lose benefits.

When you file your initial unemployment benefit application, you will need the following information:

  • Name & address
  • SSN & date of birth
  • Name, address, phone number and dates worked for most recent employer
  • If you were discharged from the military in the last 18 months, you'll need Copy #4 of your DD Form 214
  • If you were a Federal employee in the last 18 months, you'll need SF 8 or SF 50 (or W2 or pay stubs)
  • If you are not a US Citizen, you'll need your Alien Registration Number, expiration, and type
  • Names of dependents you claim on your Federal Income Tax returns
  • Name of Spouse, if earned less than $120/week (not including self employment) during the week before termination

You will receive a form after you file called a Monetary record. This will show the Iowa Unemployment Insurance Services Division estimate of your benefits, and wages on record over the past 18 months.

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Filing Your Weekly Claim:

The maximum Iowa unemployment weekly benefit is $459 per week. Federal Additional Compensation (FAC) currently adds an additional $25 per week to your benefit payments. Weekly benefits are calculated based on your base wages (considers the first four of the last five quarters), and number of dependents.

You can file your weekly claim form online, or over the telephone:

  1. Online – File your continued claim application online at
  2. Telephone – Call 800-850-5627 (outside Des Moines) or 281-6231 (Des Moines), 10am Saturday to 11:30pm Sunday or 7:30am to 4:59pm M - F

Filing weeks run Sunday through Saturday. Claims filed on Saturday through Monday are evaluated after hours on Monday.

Expect to receive your first payment within three weeks of your initial filing date, pending approval of benefits. After your initial payment, you should expect to be paid on a weekly basis:

  1. Debit Card – Expect payment by Thursday if you filed Saturday – Monday
  2. Direct Deposit – Expect payment by Friday if you filed Saturday – Monday
  3. Holidays will delay payment by one business day

Unemployment Benefits:

Health Insurance benefits may be available to you through the Health Coverage Tax Credit - Check the COBRA Subsidy Fact Sheet (PDF), COBRA and The IRS for details.

Career services are available online and at your local Iowa Workforce Development Center.

Training benefits are available at your local Iowa Workforce Development Center. Check with your local workforce Development center to see if you are eligible for Extended training benefits.

Filing for extensions:

When either the national or Iowa unemployment rates exceed a certain level, you may be entitled to additional weeks of benefits after exhausting all regular benefits. If an extended benefit period is declared and it appears that you qualify, you will be notified to contact the Iowa Unemployment Insurance Services Division.

Ending Unemployment:

When you return to work, file for credit for the remaining few days you didn't work. Then, just stop filing - when you stop weekly filing, your unemployment benefits automatically end.


Make sure to keep a copy of your Work Search History form. You may be required to supply copies to the Iowa Unemployment Insurance Services Division.

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