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Iowa Unemployment Eligibility

To be eligible for benefits you must meet the following requirements.

Non-Monetary Eligibility

  • Be totally or partially unemployed
  • Have lost your job through no fault of your own
  • Be able, available and actively seeking work
  • Be registered for work at your local IowaWORKSCenterunless work search is waived
  • Report any job offers or referrals that you have refused when you call in your weekly-continued claim
  • Report if you quit or are fired from any job while claiming benefits
  • Report all earnings before deductions when earned, when not paid

Monetary Eligibility

The base period is the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters at the time you file your initial claim of benefits.

To be eligible for benefits you must have:

  • Earned and have been paid wages by employers covered by unemployment insurance in two or more quarters of your base period
  • The total base period earnings of at least 1.25 times the wages you earned in your highest base-period quarter
  • A minimum amount of wages in the high and low quarters of your base period

If you fail to qualify monetarily using the regular base period, you will receive a notification that you may be able to file a claim using an alternate base period.

Eligibility Questions

What happens if I am fired in Iowa?

If you were fired because of misconduct, however, you will possibly not be able to collect unemployment. Misconduct consists of deliberately ignoring your employer’s interest or instructions. It can be a single incident, provided the rule forbidding it was reasonable and applied to everyone, assuming the incident didn’t happen because of incompetence.

You can also get fired without collecting unemployment if you committed an act or behaved in conduct that is a felony and that takes place while you’re employed. You can also be fired if you’re in a drug or alcohol program and you fail to adhere to the conditions of the program. If you engage in an illegal strike, your employer can fire you without having to pay out unemployment benefits.

In Iowa, if an employee is fired due to misconduct, the employer will need to show documentation to support his case at an unemployment hearing.

Am I eligible to draw unemployment benefits if I get laid off?

Usually, in Iowa you have to lose your job through no fault of your own in order to collect unemployment. When you get laid-off, it is not your fault.

In almost all cases, this means that if you get laid-off, you are eligible to collect unemployment benefits.

Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you were fired or you did something wrong. It simply means that the company in which you worked doesn’t have enough work and could no longer afford to pay you for the job.

Once you get laid-off from your job, you should immediately apply for unemployment benefits.

Can I voluntarily quit my job and get unemployment?

It will depend on your reason for quitting. You must prove that you left your job for a good reason attributable to your employer or employment conditions. Therefore, the “burden of proof” is on you at a fact finding. There is no way that your eligibility can be pre-determined.

Good reason for quitting a job could be because your employer made arbitrary or unreasonable changes to the terms and conditions of your employment. For instance, if you were demoted or suffered a big pay cut without good cause, you might have good reason for quitting. Other reasons for quitting may be safety violations at your workplace that put you at risk of harm, harassment by supervisors or other employees or workplace violence. There may be other good reasons as well, depending on individual circumstances.

Are there going to be any more Unemployment Insurance extensions? Am I eligible?

You should contact your local Iowa Workforce Development office to see if any extensions are currently in effect. Extended benefits are initiated by the Federal Government, when either the national or Iowa unemployment rates exceed a certain level, you may be entitled to additional weeks of extended benefits after exhausting all regular benefits. If extended benefits become available, you will be notified by mail. If you worked in another State, besides Iowa in the last 18 months, please check with your local Iowa Workforce Development office to see if you can file an unemployment insurance claim against another State other than Iowa.

Can I go on vacation and still get my Unemployment Insurance?

One of the basic requirements for Unemployment Insurance is that you are “able and available” the majority of the week to accept work if offered to you. If you are on vacation, you are not available for work and you can’t receive Unemployment Insurance.

More Questions?? —-> Read Eligibility Q & A Section

Want to know about how much you will receive?? —–>Calculate your benefits here

Questions & Answers

  1. Eric says:

    I am being laid off and potentially will receive a Severance Package. Does this preclude me from filing for Unemployment? Does it reduce my benefits?

  2. Allen Collins says:

    My wife ruptured 2 vertabrae and wont be work for at least 3 months, she hasnt worked for bout 3 weeks so far but when she has her surgery she will b down for 2 more months. This wasnt work related. She still has her job when she heals up but till them is there anything in the form of temp unemployment etc…

    • Martin says:

      Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered.

      If the injury is work related, please explore options under Workers Comp scheme.

  3. nancy says:

    I work 2 part time jobs. And one of my employers that I work with, fired me. I only worked for that employer for 2 1/2 weeks. If I were to apply, Would I be able to get unemployment benifits.

    • Martin says:

      Not sure if you will be eligible on the basis of part time employment.

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I was let go and am collecting unemployment-still doing job searches.
    I have decided to start my own business, can I get my job search requirement waived and get an extension on unemployment to help with income until I get my new business able to make a decent profit.

    • Adrian says:

      No, you will not be eligible and there is no extension available.

      Unemployment Insurance is only extended to those who are actively looking for jobs.

  5. Jonathan says:

    I was working full time in my home town for 2 years doing construction and after the project was finished, they moved me to the companys Headquarters which was in another state. I went from driving 2 miles to 133 miles to work. Is this good reason to quit and still be eligble for Unemployment benifits?

    • Adrian says:

      You may not qualify since unemployment insurance is only provided to those who lose job due to involuntary reasons.

      Please check further with the labor authorities in your state.

  6. Jordan says:

    I was fired for not following company policy. I have been notified of a fact-finding interview in my claim. I will be unavailable to take the phone call. The notice said that if I am unavailable, to fax in a written statement. What information should I include in this statement?

    • Adrian says:

      The information will be required in a specific format which only the department can tell you.

      Please call the phone numbers provided for further advise.

  7. Ramona Schlenker says:

    We work in a solo Doctors office. We have this 83 year old lady that has been there part time for almost 20 years. This has always been a part time job. She is now making a lot of mistakes and is having trouble remembering things to tell the patients, and sometimes Doc or I has to call the patient back with the correct information. She has worked almost 20 years (part time) around 20 hrs a week, but now only works about 16 hrs a week. Can she pull unemployment pay since she has worked there so long. Doc mention to me about letting her go due to her memory and errors.

  8. rosie worrall says:

    If I am drawing social security but still working full time and my boss closes his offices and retires am I eligible for unemployment

    • Adrian says:

      Please check with the labor dept in your state.

      Some states do provide U.I with S.S benefits and some don’t.

  9. Patty says:

    I have 2 part-time jobs. If I leave one job for good reason, is it stupid of me to apply for unemployment benefits ?

    • Adrian says:

      It certainly is not. You can consider applying for UI benefits as long as you have not worked full time hours prescribed in your state.

  10. Jessica says:

    I am currently working full time and am going to school part time. I will starting nursing classes in the fall, which will be full time. My employer is not willing to allow me to work part time so that I can attend my classes. Would I be eligible for unemployment?

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