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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. Kari says:

    There was a fire at the facility i was working at and it will be shut down for four to six months to rebuild. My boss told me that i had to work at another facility in the same company which is a farther drive for me that i can’t afford. Am i required to work at the other facility? Would i be eligible for unemployment instead?

    • Sam says:


      If you decide not to and quit, it might go against you. Before making a decision, please call the Unemployment Office for clarification about your eligibility.

  2. Darcy Simmermaker says:

    I was in jail and getting work release, the jail revoked my work release because i dropped a dirty u a. Can my emploer use that against me when applying for unemployment benefits

  3. Rachelle says:

    I am a 53 year old woman, and I have never had to file for unemployment until now.I received the green paper stating the amt of weekly benefits, but does that mean that I will get unemployment? If so, how soon after getting the paper does it usually take?

  4. george says:

    Im currently working full time at my job but I plan to quit so I can go to school full time in the nursing dept
    can I collect unemployment while im going to school?

    • Sam says:


      You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  5. Patty says:

    I had a few deaths in my family right in a row. My work gave me bereavement leave. When I came back after all done they asked for proof. Only had one obituary and claimed I falsified my hours. No where in their handbook does it say proof has to be made in taking this time off

    • Sam says:


      I am sorry to hear about the deaths in the family. If you were asked to leave without proper justification, you should be able to claim. Please discuss by calling the Unemployment Office in your state.

  6. Carolyn says:

    I work 36 hours per week which is considered full time. 3 days / 12 hours each. Company is restructuring workload in my work area. I was told my job would no longer exist and I would be going to Monday thru Friday and loose $3 an hour shift differential. Going from 3 days a week to 5 days and from $18.29 to 15.29 an hour. If I resign, am I eligible for UI.

    • Sam says:


      Please check with the Unemployment Office before making a decision on your employment since it may be considered as voluntary making you ineligible to claim UI benefits.

  7. Okee says:

    I quit my job dew to my work load doubled and not getting any help. I worked at a church. Moving on to better work. Can I get unemployment benefits?

    • Sam says:

      You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  8. Jeff says:

    My position was eliminated and I have filed an unemployment claim. I am an adoptive parent and my kids receive an adoption subsidy from the state. It does not have tax implications when I file taxes at the end of the year. Do I need to report this amount on the weekly claim form in Iowa?


  9. Jamie says:

    I am currently considered full time working a job in Davenport Iowa. I am in the health field and our location is very slow. My full time status says im suppose to be getting 30 hours or more but the kast couple months have been several weeks as low as 22 hours and my boss is now forcing me go travel to locations as far as 2 hours away.

    Can I quit working if she can not keep my hours at the full time rate and give me hours at the location I have been hired for and be eligible to receive benefits from unemployment.

    The drive time is hard to do and its impossible to keep working part time 20 hours a week /working five days. Im having a hard time makinyends meet for my family. I feel my degree is wirth more and I am looking for jobs.

    • Sam says:

      Instead of quitting, you can claim partial UI benefits for the hours lost. If you resign, it can be considered against you.

      I suggest you call the Unemployment Office for a second opinion.

  10. Dave says:

    1. I am considered a part time employee. Usually 20 to 30 hours per week. Based on being “part time” am I eligible for unemployment benefits if I am laid off?

    2. Lately, I have been working as much as 40 hours per week, but still considered “part time”. If I work a few weeks more than 32 hours, does that technically change my status to “full time”?
    does that affect my unemployment eligibility if I were laid off

    • Sam says:

      Well, part-time workers do not generally qualify to claim UI benefits since employers do not pay taxes.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to ascertain your eligibility.

  11. Bob says:

    Are school secretaries eligible for unemployment benefits during the summer months? It is an hourly job with full time benefits.

    • Sam says:

      Jobs that are designated as “Seasonal” does not generally qualify.

      I suggest you call the Unemployment Office in your state for clarification.

  12. Ashley says:

    I work a parttime job i love but had to quit due to verbal and sexual harassment from guests at work. The owner was told about three time over the past few months that i was uncomfortable and being harassed but he never did anything untill i quit. Do u think i can file? Iv never been in this situation before

    • Sam says:


      I am sorry to hear about your situation. You can certainly quit under such circumstances and draw UI benefits until you find another job. However, I am not sure how it works for part time jobs. Please call the Unemployment Office to inquire further.

  13. Kyle Winter says:

    I was fired for to many unexcused absences but followed procedure for every absence by calling in and giving the reason why I would be gone. It was always for injury or illness of myself or my children. First they denies my benefits but I appealed the decision because I read that it would not be considered misconduct in Iowa if u follow the employers procedure when u are going to be gone and that was not brought up in the first call about the benefits. Is this enough to qualify for my benefits for the appeal? Any advice for the appeal call?

    • Sam says:

      Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered. I do not really see an outcome in your favor during the Appeals process.

  14. Michael D Beason says:

    During a machine adjustment procedure, I had locked out the main drive according to the lockout tag out procedure, however I forgot to remove an entry key that is also part of the lockout procedure. I am now on suspension pending an investigation of the events but, were I to be terminated as a result, would that be considered misconduct and cause me to be denied UI benefits?

    • Sam says:

      You may not be eligible to draw UI under circumstances such as performance issues.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  15. Vashon says:

    I was fired by my boss after she antagonized me accused me of something i didnt do and i had a witness in the office at the time.i filed for unemployment will am i eligible ?

    • Sam says:

      Yes, you can be eligible to receive UI benefits under such circumstances. Please make sure to keep supporting documents handy.

  16. Debbie says:

    I was working part time in a Doctors office and he decided to retire leaving me out of a job. I started out working many hours and then worked on a as needed basis. My husband believes I should apply for unemployment as it was not my fault the job ended. I can’t say what my income actually was as my hours were never the same every week so I’m assuming I wouldn’t be elegible. Who is right?

  17. joey ballard says:

    I had fell of a ladder and broke my hip in October and have not worked since nor have I been able to. Is there any way this insurance could help in my case.

    • Martin says:

      I am sorry to hear about the fall. Hope you get well soon.

      Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered. UI benefits are only extended to those who’re able and available for work.

  18. rob says:

    I am leaving my job to move to another state and help care for my aging grandparent. Do I qualify for unemployment until I can find a job in this new small town?

    • Martin says:

      You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  19. Sharel Mayberry says:

    I worked for a company for 14 years. Company in Iowa but I traveled out of state most of the time (they paid the expenses) The company was sold. The buyer (office is in Ankeny. I live in Tulsa Oklahoma) offered me a position which I would do by telecommuting from my home office. I went to the Iowa office to get the ball rolling and the buyer now states I have to move to Iowa or he can’t use me. (In essence he changed his mind). I cannot move without hardship to my family. The buyer offered me in their words “a golden parachute”. But instead of paying the amount they stated they continued to send me paychecks for three months after termination. Taxes were deducted. I was able to get some odd jobs until July 2016. I haven’t been able to get a job since then. Why am I monetarily ineligible? 14 years is a long time in one place and not counted?

    • Martin says:

      Well, from the information you’ve provided, you should be eligible to claim UI benefits. Please consider applying.

  20. Deb says:

    I filed for Unemployment before I found out I was going to get severance. So I just have to list the income on the weekly claim. Do I still have to apply at 2 places a week while I am getting severance? I don’t want to cause problems getting benefits after the severance is done.

    • Martin says:

      I suggest that you contact the Claims Center to confirm the exact number of applications you should be making each week since it differs from case to case.

  21. Jared says:

    I’ve been employed in a sales role with a base of 800/month, then 1,000/month, with commission.

    I’ve worked here 8 months. Maybe 3 pay checks have been for the correct amount (I may even still be owed ~$30, which I isn’t much, but shows…). We’ve changed compensation structures 3 times. I have had accounts removed from my list repeatedly and so suffered a loss in commissionable revenue.

    Ive been removed from projects with no notice or cause given (I suspect so as to not have to pay me).

    My boss has likely also been committing fraud, telling clients a higher number for our audience than our data supports, and despite my telling him, he continues to use that rate card. This also despite my working with a graphic designer to develop an alternative rate card with correct information.

    I also am fairly certain he wasn’t paying the interns, despite having them do work all summer he’d been paying an hourly employee to do before they came on.

    I’m SO ready to quit. But fairly certain he’d try to withhold my last paycheck, or some such bullshit. He can afford to challenge me, and wait, while I can’t.

    Does this sound like a situation where I could quit and get benefits.

    I have access to emails documenting this, as well as screenshots.

    • Martin says:

      You can be eligible to claim UI benefits under hostile work environment. The key is to provide supporting documents in case of a dispute raised by your employer. Make sure to keep them handy.

      I suggest that you speak to the Unemployment Office before making a decision.

  22. David says:

    During a managers meeting at work, My Boss screamed and F bombed me because I let a fellow employee take a Monday Off, because he was working a Saturday following. Can I quit and collect jobless benefits until I find a new job. I have worked here 28yrs. All my other fellow managers heard him yelling Fbombs. He has had others quit because of poor treatment.Thanks Dave

    • Martin says:

      If its a hostile work environment in question, you can actually quit and claim until you find a job.

      However, this is a sensitive issue. You may be required to produce supporting documentation if your employer disputes during claims processing.

  23. Jennifer L. Gray says:

    My boyfriend has a full time job and also took on a part time job for 3 months just for extra cash because of paying child support. He left that part time job after it kept interfering with his full time job….he was missing out on overtime because he wpuld ha e to leave his full time job to go to worm at his part time job. His boss at his full time job wasnt very happy with him having to leave so he ended up quitting his part time job. Fast forward 6 months later and my boyfriend had to file unemployment for lack of work/decreased hours. He now has a fact finding interview on his voluntarily quit on the part time job. Hes still working his full time but less hours right now because of lack of work. Will he be denied benefits now because he quit his part time job because it was interfering with his full time job? His boss at his full time job was threatening to fire him because he was missing work due to having to leave his part time job. Please help.

    • Martin says:

      Well, it all depends on how you present the case. Make sure you stress on the facts and the backdrop of quitting the part time job.

  24. David says:

    I am a paid tax preparer. I’m likely to no longer be working when summer comes. I work from December to April. My company is covered by unemployment insurance. Do I qualify for unemployment for the rest of the season?

    • Martin says:

      Employment such as seasonal jobs do not generally qualify. Please check further with the labor authorities in your state.

  25. 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?

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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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