How to File for Unemployment in Iowa


If you live in the state of Iowa and you are currently unemployed, you may qualify for unemployment benefits. The process for opening an unemployment claim is not difficult but under the current circumstances of the pandemic, there may be a large number being processed so it is important not to delay in filing your initial claim. If you are new to the process here is some helpful information that will help you to know how to file for unemployment in the state of Iowa.

What is unemployment insurance?

Unemployment insurance is a program that is funded by state and federal monies to be awarded to eligible workers who are not employed. The proceeds are cash benefits that arrive in the form of a check to every person who is eligible for participation in the program. Each state administers its own program for eligible workers under the auspices of guidelines that have been set by federal law according to the DOL government website.

Requirements for eligibility for unemployment insurance in Iowa

In order to be approved for unemployment benefits, you must meet the eligibility criteria. As a claimant, you must have lost your job through no fault of your own, be at least partially to totally unemployed, be able to work and available to accept a job and go to work. In addition to this, you must have been employed in the past 15 to 18 months and earned a minimum amount on your job or jobs. You must also be actively looking for a job, be registered for work unless this requirement is waived, and be able to verify your identity and provide the required documents to the unemployment security office.

Information that you’ll need when you file for unemployment insurance benefits

Prior to starting your application for unemployment insurance benefits, you’ll need to have the required information handy. The things that you will need to have are as follows: Your social security number along with the name that it is issued under. You will also need information from your last employer. This includes the name of the business, the payroll address along with a working telephone number if available. You will also need to have the date that you started work and the last date of work for your last job. You will also be required to report the reason why you left the job.

Other information you may need to provide

You will also need an alien registration number if you are not a permanent refugee or a citizen of the United States. You will also need to be prepared to disclose if you will receive severance, vacation pay, or other forms of payment from your last job. If you served in the United States military during the last 18 months you will need your DD-214 (Member 4). If you were working for the federal government during the past 18 months you will need to provide an SF-8 form. You will also need to provide information about your dependents that were claimed on your federal income tax return if they were claimed as exemptions. You will need their names, birthdates, and social security numbers.

Where to apply for unemployment benefits

The fastest and most convenient way to apply for unemployment benefits in the state of Iowa is through the online link that is provided by the program. You can also apply at your local IowaWORKS Center to apply in person, but it is important to find out if the local office is open for in-person contact during the Coronavirus pandemic crisis.

Other important information

After you’ve completed your application and filed your initial unemployment benefits claim, you will be required to submit a claim every Saturday or Sunday between the hours of 6:00 am and 7:30 pm, or Monday through Friday between 6:00 am to 6:30 pm. You will receive instruction that clearly outlines when you should start filing your weekly claim after you’ve successfully submitted your initial application and claim form.

Your identity verification

When you are completing your initial application for unemployment benefits in the state of Iowa, you will be prompted to authenticate and verify your identity. This process involves choosing questions that will remain in the system of the program that will contain answers you provide for the verification questions. You should write them down and keep them in a safe place so you don’t forget them. If you decline to complete the online verification consent then you must submit documents confirming your identity to the IWD. Your claim only becomes valid after your identity has been confirmed. If you fail to supply the documents within 7 days of filing your claim, this could void your claim or lock it down, making it necessary to submit an additional claim.

Note* Residents of Iowa may use an Iowa “Real ID” card that is issued by the State for identity verification instead of other required documents. If you do not have this type of ID you can obtain it through the Iowa Department of Transportation. For more information about how to get a Real ID, refer to the IDT website at this page.

The information that you will need to file your weekly claim

Prepare to file your weekly claim by making sure that you have the appropriate information available. You will need your social security number and the four-digit pin number that you established when you submitted your initial claim. If you worked during the week you must also have available the total amount of gross wages that you earned during the week you are claiming before any deductions were made. You must also have available any gross severance pay, vacation, or holiday pay if this is applicable. If you forget your pin number you can contact IWD to have the number reset.


If you have lost your job or experienced a reduction in hours, through no fault of your own, you may qualify for unemployment benefits. You can complete the process online. It’s straightforward when you go through the supplied website and follow the directions. You will be instructed on any further actions that may be needed pertaining to your case.

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