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. 

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. 

Applying for benefits starts with filing your initial claim. 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:

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 Unemployment Insurance (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:

Next Steps and Registering for Work

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

Related Agencies and Services

Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals, & Licensing (Unemployment Insurance Appeals and Labor Division Section)

6200 Park Avenue, Suite 100, Des Moines, IA 50321

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

Iowa Workforce Development (Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Tax)

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

Unemployment Insurance Benefits: (866) 239-0843

Unemployment Insurance Tax: (888) 848-7442