Unemployment Insurance Services Division

File an Unemployment Insurance Claim

StopIf you already have an active unemployment claim and are trying to file your weekly continued claim, please click here. If you do not have an active unemployment claim and need to file a new claim, follow the instructions below.

Are you eligible to file an application for unemployment benefits? Do you meet these basic eligibility requirements?

  • You are totally or partially unemployed.

  • You have worked and earned a minimum amount of wages in work covered by unemployment insurance in the last 15 to 18 months.

  • You have lost your job through no fault of your own.

  • You are able and available for work.

  • You are registered for work at your local IowaWORKS Center, unless work search is waived. You can register for work on-line by using the Employment Registration Services application. 

  • You are actively seeking work unless work search is waived.

For additional information or to better understand the eligibility requirements, please read the Facts about Unemployment Insurance Handbook.

What will you need to file your application? You need the following: 

  • Your Social Security number;

  • The name, payroll address and telephone number of your most recent employer, and the beginning and ending dates you worked for that employer;

  • An Alien Registration number if you are NOT a U.S. citizen or permanent refugee;

  • A DD-214 (Member 4), if you served in the U.S. military during the last 18 months;

  • A Standard Form 8 (SF-8), if you worked for the federal government in the last 18 months;

  • The name(s) of any dependents that you claim as exemptions on your federal income tax return;

  • You may claim your spouse as a dependent if her/his gross wages were $120 or less in the week prior to filing your claim. Self-employment does not count as gross wages for dependent purposes.

1. File an Unemployment Benefit Claim Online

The fastest, most efficient way to apply for benefits (file your initial claim) is online. The Internet filing option is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- it's always open!

To be able to file a claim online you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • You must have worked in Iowa during the past 18 months (earned Iowa wages;

  • You must not have an existing unemployment claim in any other state with money (benefits) still available;

  • You must not have an existing Railroad Unemployment claim with any remaining money available;

  • If you served in the U.S. military during the past 18 months, you MUST have an Iowa residence;

If you do not meet the criteria to file on-line, you should contact a local IowaWORKS Center for additional assistance in filing your unemployment claim.

Before you begin, we suggest you review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) about filing a claim on-line.

Click here to log in or create an account and file your initial  unemployment insurance claim.

2. File an Unemployment Benefit Claim at an IowaWORKS Center

You may file your initial claim for benefits at your local IowaWORKS Center. Many IowaWORKS Centers hold regularly scheduled group claim sessions and will help you complete the forms. Or, you can use a computer in the Center to file your application on-line.

3. File an Unemployment Benefit Claim Through Your Employer

Iowa Workforce Development has a program that allows employers to file an initial claim for a recently separated employee. Check with your employer to determine if they are participating in this program.


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