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Iowa Unemployment Appeal

Iowa Unemployment Benefits

If you disagree with a decision made by Iowa Workforce Development, you have the right to file an appeal. Both employers and claimants can challenge decisions on Iowa unemployment insurance claims.

The appeal process is overseen by the Employment Appeal Board and involves an administrative law judge. It’s important to know the rules and deadlines set by Iowa Workforce Development to make sure your appeal is valid.

There are many reasons why you may wish to file an appeal. You may disagree with the way your UI benefits are calculated, or feel you qualify for an unemployment extension. You may also want to appeal when there are issues with overpayments or suspected unemployment fraud.

UI claims are often denied due to reasons such as insufficient work history, quitting a job without good cause, or being fired for misconduct. You can also face eligibility issues by refusing a suitable job offer, earning too much income, or not looking for work.

How to file an appeal

You can file an appeal online, by mail, or by fax. The appeal must be submitted within 10 calendar days from the date of the denial notice.

1st Level of Appeal

There are multiple levels to the appeal process. If you disagree with the judge’s decision, you can escalate your appeal to the next level.

The first level of appeal is with an administrative law judge (ALJ).


The easiest way to appeal is online. Simply fill out the online form and follow the on-screen instructions.

By mail

To appeal by mail, print the appeal form, fill it out, and mail it to:

Iowa Department of Inspections Appeals, & Licensing
Administrative Hearings Division | UI Appeals Bureau
Wallace State Office Building | 502 East 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

By fax

You can also fax your completed form to (515) 478-3528.

Once a claim is appealed, a formal hearing will be scheduled with the ALJ.

When appealing by mail or fax, be sure to include the following information:

  • Preferred type of hearing (phone or face-to-face)
  • Why you’re appealing
  • Your personal details: name, address, and Social Security number
  • The date of your decision notice
  • Preferred language if you need an interpreter

If your former employer protests your claim

If your Iowa unemployment insurance application has issues, you’ll have a fact-finding interview over the phone. You and your employer will get a letter with all the details for this call.

After the interview, you’ll get a letter saying whether or not you qualify for unemployment benefits. If you or your employer disagree with the decision, you can appeal. The letter will include directions on how to appeal.

Keep filing your weekly claim

Important: Don’t stop filing your weekly claims while waiting for the fact-finding process to finish. If you do, you could miss out on benefits for those weeks. This includes reporting all earnings and fulfilling your weekly work search requirements.

What happens during the hearing?

Once you file an appeal, you’ll be scheduled for a formal hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). They’ll mail you a notice for a phone hearing along with the date, time, and a toll-free number to call.

You have to call into the hearing yourself – the ALJ won’t call you. If you don’t call, your appeal can be thrown out.

If you are unable to attend the scheduled hearing, contact the Appeals Division in writing at least 3 days before the hearing. They will only reschedule for a good reason, so make sure to explain why you can’t attend.

The hearing is a formal event. Everyone gets sworn in and everything gets recorded. You can give new statements and submit more evidence. If you want a lawyer, you’ll have to cover attorney fees yourself.

Tips for during the hearing

  • Let the person who is talking finish without cutting them off.
  • Use direct evidence, not gossip or second-hand info.
  • Focus on what directly relates to your case and skip anything that doesn’t.
  • The last opportunity to add any evidence is during the administrative law judge’s hearing.
  • Don’t rely completely on written statements like affidavits. They can’t be cross-examined since the person who wrote it isn’t there.
  • Get to know all the facts of your case well in advance.
  • Submit all your evidence by the time of the appeal hearing. You can’t add more later.
  • If you have new evidence or documents since your first interview, ask to include them early enough for everyone to get mailed copies.
  • Bring all important paperwork like time cards, pay slips, and prior warnings related to why you’re no longer employed.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s better to admit it than to guess and risk your credibility.

After the hearing

After the hearing, you’ll get a decision letter from the ALJ. It will outline the key facts and legal reasons for their decision, and say whether you qualify for unemployment insurance benefits.

Second-Level Appeal

If you disagree with the judge’s decision from your first appeal, you can appeal again to the Iowa Employment Appeal Board. You have 15 days from the date of the notice to submit your request.

You can submit your appeal to the Board online, by mail, or by fax.


To apply online, visit and follow the instructions.

By mail

To appeal by mail, print the appeal form and mail the completed form to:

Employment Appeal Board
4th Floor – Lucas Building
Des?Moines, Iowa  50319

By fax

You can fax your completed form to (515) 281-7191.

The Employment Appeal Board (EAB) doesn’t conduct hearings. Instead, they look at all the evidence given to the administrative law judge.

The Appeal Board has a few options:

  • Agree or disagree with the ALJ’s decision
  • Send the case back to the ALJ for more examination
  • Call for a new hearing if the evidence from the ALJ’s hearing is lacking or not complete

The decision from the EAB usually takes between 45-75 days after filing the appeal. If you still don’t agree with the EAB’s decision, you can either ask for a review in Iowa District Court or ask the board for another hearing.

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