Unemployment Office

The unemployment insurance (UI) program provides temporary financial support for individuals who have lost their jobs and are actively seeking employment. The UI program is supervised by the Iowa Workforce Development Agency, and all claims are handled by the Unemployment Insurance Division. To accommodate those individuals whose first language is not English, employment services are also available in Spanish.



In the state of Iowa, you are considered eligible for UI benefits if you are unemployed due to no fault of your own. You can also qualify if you are partially employed; however, you must be earning less than your weekly benefit amount and unable to afford your basic living expenses. Moreover, you must be available to work, physically able to work, and actively seeking employment. In order to prove that you are in search of a new job, you must register with the Iowa Works Center. As part of this condition, you must also keep a work search record and contact a minimum of two potential employers for each week that you wish to receive UI benefits.

Monetary Eligibility Requirement

In order to satisfy this requirement, you must have earned enough wages in Iowa within the last 15-18 months. A “base period” will be used to determine your monetary eligibility; it is considered the first four quarters out of the last five completed quarters of the calendar year. In some cases, you may not qualify for the regular base period; thus, an alternate base period can be used; the alternative is based on the last four completed quarters in which you earned wages in Iowa. Regardless of which one is used, it is required to determine your weekly and maximum benefit amounts. For instance, your maximum benefit amount will be equal to one-third of the total wages from your base period; this amount will also be equal to 26 times your weekly benefit amount in most cases. If it is not, the lesser of the two amounts will be used as your maximum benefit amount. In the state of Iowa, you can receive a maximum amount of $486 per week in UI benefits. In contrast, you can receive a minimum benefit amount of $59 per week. However, most claimants will receive an amount that falls between these two amounts. In addition, the amount of your UI benefits will depend on the number of dependents you have claimed. For instance, you can receive a maximum of $500 per week if you have four dependents.

How to File a Claim

You can apply for UI benefits online if you have an existing unemployment claim or if you are a former employee of the military. In all other cases, you must visit your local Iowa Works Center and submit a UI claim in-person. Before you can apply for UI benefits, you must have the following items:

  • Social Security Number, address, and telephone number
  • Driver’s license or identification card
  • Employment history from the last 18 months, which includes the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all your previous employers
  • Dates of employment and reasons for separation from the positions mentioned
  • Banking information if you wish to receive payments through direct deposit
  • Details of dependent(s), including name, age, and level of education obtained
  • Proof of employment in the military if applicable
  • Alien registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen

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Iowa Workforce Development 1000 East Grand Avenue Des Moines, IA 50319 (515) 281-5387 View Website Unemployement Claim File