File a Claim for Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Eligibility Requirements for Unemployment Insurance Benefits

To be eligible for UI benefits the claimant must:

  • be totally or partially unemployed
  • have worked and earned a minimum amount of wages in work covered by UI in the last 15 to 18 months
  • have lost his or her job through no fault of their own
  • be able and available for work
  • be actively seeking work (work search may be waived if certain criteria are met)
  • be registered for work at your local IowaWORKS center or online (unless the work search requirement is waived).

For step-by-step instructions on how to file an unemployment insurance benefit claim, visit Helpful Videos​ to view "How to File a Unemployment Insurance Benefit Claim." 

Unemployment Benefits Related to Partial Federal Shutdown

Now that the partial federal shutdown has ended, federal workers who were affected by the partial shutdown are no longer eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. If you have filed a claim and received unemployment insurance benefits, you will be required to repay those benefit payments. If you have filed a claim and would like to cancel it, please call Customer Service at 866-239-0843. You can also contact Customer Service to pay back the unemployment benefits you received or refer to this Q & A.

Protect Yourself from Scams

IWD does not ask for unemployment insurance overpayments to be paid by credit card or gift cards. Individuals who have received an unemployment insurance overpayment will be notified by mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.

In addition, IWD does not request sensitive account information through email communications. Individuals filing for unemployment insurance benefits will receive pertinent information regarding their account through the U.S. Postal Service.

Information required when filing for Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits

The following information is needed when filing for UI benefits:

  • social security number
  • name, payroll address and telephone number of your last employer
  • start and end dates of your last job
  • whether or not you will receive vacation pay, severance, etc.
  • alien registration number (if not a U.S. citizen or permanent refugee)
  • DD-214 (Member 4) if you served in the U.S. military during the last 18 months
  • Standard Form 8 (SF-8) if you worked for the federal government in the last 18 months
  • name(s), date(s) of birth, and social security number(s) of any dependents that are claimed as exemptions on your federal income tax return
    • Spouses may be claimed as a dependent if their gross wages were $120.00 or less in the week prior to filing your claim.
    • Self-employment does not count as gross wages for dependent purposes.

How To Apply for UI benefits

You may file for UI benefits online (the fastest and most efficient way) or at a local IowaWORKS Center.

For a step-by-step guide to filing for unemployment insurance benefits, please watch "How to File a Unemployment Insurance Benefit Claim" on our Helpful Videos​ page.

  Apply Online Now


Review these Frequently Asked Questions about Unemployment Insurance. 

For additional information or to better understand the eligibility requirements, please refer to the Unemployment Insurance Benefits Handbook or contact Customer Service at 866-239-0843.