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Iowa Unemployment Application

Iowa Unemployment Benefits

How to apply for Iowa unemployment benefits

To apply for Iowa unemployment benefits, start by submitting an initial claim application. You can do this either online or at a local IowaWORKS Center. It’s a good idea to review the Iowa unemployment eligibility requirements before applying.

Make sure to file during the first week you want to receive benefits, as you won’t get paid for any weeks before your claim’s effective date. Remember, the unemployment week runs from Sunday to Saturday, and all claims get a Sunday effective date based on when you file.

Apply Online:

You must create an IWD account to apply. Once you are logged in, follow the instructions and answer all questions accurately and completely.

You can file your initial claim during the following hours:

  • Saturday – Sunday 6:00 am to 7:30 pm
  • Monday – Friday 6:00 am to 6:30 pm

Once your application is submitted, you’ll see a confirmation page. This page will provide a printable version of your confirmation number, as well as guidelines on when to start submitting your weekly claim for Iowa unemployment benefits. Keep a record of this confirmation number.

Information needed to apply

Before applying, it’s important to have the following information ready. Gathering this information first can help eliminate mistakes so your claim gets processed faster.

  • Start and end dates of employment with your most recent employer
  • Full mailing address, including apartment or lot number and zip code
  • Employment authorization number and expiration date, if not a U.S. citizen
  • Social Security Number
  • Reason for leaving your most recent job
  • Contact phone number
  • Statement clarifying that unemployment due to lack of work is not considered a formal firing
  • Name of your most recent employer as shown on pay stubs or W-2 forms
  • Full legal names, Social Security Numbers, birth dates, and relationships of any dependents (up to four)
  • Standard Form 8 or 50 if you were a federal civilian employee in the past 18 months
  • DD 214 Member #4 Form if you served in the military in the past 18 months
  • Name of the temporary or staffing agency you worked for, rather than the client you were placed with, if applicable

Why does the Iowa Workforce Division need my Social Security number?

Your Social Security Number serves multiple purposes. It confirms your identity with the Social Security Administration and checks if you qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. The SSN also helps report your unemployment insurance payments as taxable income to both the Internal Revenue Service and the Iowa Department of Revenue.

Authorities use your SSN to spot Iowa unemployment fraud and enforce child support orders. Additionally, other government programs might request and use your confidential unemployment compensation information to check your eligibility. Be cautious: only give out your SSN or personal information when you are sure the representative is an IWD employee.

Verifying your identity

Before you can be paid any unemployment compensation, you must first verify your identity. This step protects your personal information and prevents scammers from committing identity theft and unemployment fraud.

To protect your identity, Iowa Workforce Development has partnered with LexisNexis Risk Solutions. During your unemployment claim process, they’ll verify your identity using public and non-public records, including government and utility data. Don’t worry, no credit check is done and it doesn’t affect your credit report.

You must verify your identity to get unemployment benefits. When you file your unemployment claim, you’ll have the choice to verify your identity online. If you opt out of the online method, you’ll need to send in ID documentation before you can receive any payments.

If you go for the online verification, you’ll have to answer a series of questions. If this method doesn’t confirm your identity, you’ll still need to send in your ID documents. If your identity is successfully verified, you can proceed with the claims process. You’ll have about five business days from the date you filed your claim to respond.

Failing to verify your identity could delay your benefits or even cancel your claim.

Important: As you’re verifying your identity, keep filing your weekly claims and performing the required work search activities or you will miss out on payments you could have received.

Acceptable forms of identification

The Iowa Workforce Division has strict rules about which types of documents can be used to verify your identity.

Acceptable documents include:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage License/Certificate
  • Passport or Passport Card
  • Driver’s License, state issued ID, or Military ID
  • Social Security card
  • W-2 form
  • Vehicle title
  • 1099 tax form
  • Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Card
  • Real ID

What is Real ID?

Real ID is a new type of driver’s license issued by the state of Iowa. It has a gold star in the top right corner. This ID meets new federal guidelines for identity verification.

If you have a Real ID, that is all the documentation you need to verify your identity for unemployment.

You can submit your documentation in the following ways:


To submit online, you can take a photo of your ID and other documents, and upload them from your phone.


Send copies of your documents to the following address. Do not send original documents.

Iowa Workforce Development
Attn: Benefits Bureau
PO Box 10332
Des Moines, IA  50306-0332

In Person

Visit your local IowaWORKS Center and verify your identity in person. Be sure to bring the necessary documentation with you.

After you apply

After applying, there are several ongoing eligibility requirements you must meet in order to receive weekly payments.

Monetary Record

You will receive a Monetary Record that provides an overview of your base period earnings. This is not a guarantee of eligibility – it only shows what you can get if you are deemed eligible. For example, you must be unemployed through no fault of your own.

Your work history is used to calculate your weekly benefit amount and how many weeks you can collect benefits. The most anyone can collect UI benefits for is 16, unless the state of Iowa has enacted an unemployment extension due to a high rate of employment.

Work registration

You must register with IowaWORKS and upload a resume. Your resume must be online and searchable by employers during the entire time you collect UI benefits.

File weekly claims

You must certify your eligibility each week. The process of filing a weekly claim includes reporting any earnings or job offers. You must also complete 4 work search activities each week to prove you are actively searching for work.

If your application is denied

If your application for unemployment benefits in Iowa is denied, you have the right to file an appeal with the Employment Appeal Board. Submit your appeal request within 10 days from the date of the denial notice. The appeal process gives you a chance to present more information and make a case for why you should receive Iowa unemployment benefits.

  1. Please help me in my financial situation I am currently looking for a job and will not attempt to take advantage of the unemployment district. I just need to get by until I am employed again. As soon as that day comes I will end all unemployment.

    • Why don’t you rev up your job search by looking for jobs online? Over the internet. You can also inquire and attend job assistance services by state authorities.

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