If you’ve lost your job, Iowa Workforce Development is here to help and has the tools you need to begin your reemployment path.

Learn how to file for benefits and begin the process for reemployment in just a few steps.  Apply for Unemployment Insurance Benefits by filing your initial claim. 

Iowans filing for unemployment insurance (UI) claims must meet several requirements to receive benefits. Claimants must apply for benefits on a weekly basis, fulfill work search requirements, and be actively looking for work.

If you’ve already filed your initial claim, you will continue to file on a weekly basis if you wish to receive unemployment insurance benefits. Learn more about how to file your weekly claim

First, Make Sure You’re Eligible

To qualify for benefits, claimants must:

  • Have lost their job through no fault of their own and be totally or partially unemployed.
  • Have worked and earned a minimum amount of wages over the last 15 to 18 months documented in the UI system.
  • Be able and available for work and actively seeking work.
  • Be able to verify identify, either via online verification or provided documents 
  • Be registered for work and fulfill weekly work search requirements in their job search (minor exemptions can apply).

Questions? Get help with the following resources:

Unemployment Insurance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Unemployment Insurance Benefits Handbook

UI customer service: 1-866-239-0843 or uiclaimshelp@iwd.iowa.gov

Prepare to Apply for Unemployment

Ensure that you have required information ready to go:

  • Social security number
  • Name, payroll address and telephone number of your last employer
  • Start and end dates of your last job; information on 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


  • You will be asked to verify your identity by answering security questions.
  • 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.

Submit Your Unemployment Application

Applying for UI benefits can be done during the following times:

Monday – Friday: 6:00 am - 6:30 pm

Saturday and Sunday: 6:00 am - 7:30 pm

Iowans can apply in the following places:

Filing for benefits online (fastest and most efficient way) 

Filing at a local IowaWORKS center

Next Steps and Registering for Work

After applying, it may take several weeks to process your application and start receiving benefits. In the meantime, please continue to do the following:

File a weekly claim every week online while your claim is processing.

When applying for UI benefits, you must also register for work separately. 

Learn  about how to register, and then head to IowaWORKS.gov.

Fulfill your weekly work search requirements. You should track your work search in a log like this recommended work search log. View the video on how to start your weekly reemployment

New Changes

Beginning in January 2022, IWD implemented its Reemployment Case Management System (RCM) to provide enhanced services that support claimants beginning in the first week of unemployment. Learn about RCM and the new work search requirements

  1. Beginning in July 2022, new changes to the unemployment system took effect as part of new legislation signed into law. Learn about the changes to unemployment benefits.  

Contact UI customer service for any additional questions or support (1-866-239-0843 or uiclaimshelp@iwd.iowa.gov)

Related Agency - Iowa Workforce Development


1000 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA  50319

Labor Division (515) 242-5870

Labor Division Wage Section (515) 725-5619

Unemployment Insurance Appeals - Fax (515) 478-3528

Unemployment Insurance Appeals - In Iowa (800) 532-1483

Unemployment Insurance Appeals - Outside Iowa (800) 247-5205

Unemployment Insurance Benefits (866) 239-0843

Unemployment Insurance Tax (888) 848-7442