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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

  1. Would I be eligible for partial unemployment if I am still working but only 27.5 hours compared to the 45+ I use to work. I am a student in a nursing program to better life for my family and myself.

    1. Amanda,

      You should be eligible to claim partial UI benefits for loss of hours. Please consider applying until full hours are restored.

  2. Call I am working at a job that requires a certain amount of money per month in sales to be maintained. Last month I did not meet my quota. I am worried that this month I may not meet my quota is well. I am trying very hard but I worry that I won’t be able to make it. Would I be eligible for unemployment benefits if I am let go becauseof sales performance.

        1. Victoria,

          If you’re being fired due to involuntary reasons (no fault of your own), please consider applying for UI benefits until payments normalize.

  3. Are paraeducators eligible to draw unemployment during the summer months? My sister and several of her friends who are para’s were told they could and they started receiving their checks. I used to work at an employment office and I was under the notion they can’t draw it. So I would like your opinion before my Sister gets in trouble and has to pay the money back.

    1. I emailed the Iowa Workforce Center about this since my wife is a para and was wondering the same thing. They emailed me back this information.

      “Typically, if someone signs a contract for the next school-year, before their work ends in the spring, this is considered reasonable assurance and one would not qualify for unemployment. However, anyone can file for an Unemployment Insurance claim. Unfortunately, we cannot predetermine your eligibility. You will need to file a claim and go through the eligibility process. Once you file, if you are monetarily eligible, your employers within the last 18 months will be notified. Each employer has 10 days to protest your claim. If you quit, or were discharged, from your employer, or if your employer protests, we will schedule a phone fact finding interview to determine whether or not you are eligible to receive benefits.”

      Hope this helps.

  4. During the last 10 months I have been dealing with a health issue that at times, can be very painful.

    I accepted a full time position with an Agricultural Manufacturing Company. The probationary period was 180 days with benefit eligibility after 90 days. The only mention of an attendance policy, (throughout the entire interview process, new employee orientation, and employee handbook), was that during the 6 month probationary period….you were not allowed to miss a shift. 180 days without an absence.

    Since my medical issues didn’t prevent me from performing the physical requirements of the job, I accepted the position in hopes that my medical issues would be resolved soon and absences would play no part. I was incorrect and missed a total of 2.5 days during that 180 day probationary period. Each with a Drs note upon return to work.

    According to their attendance policy during the probationary period, I should have been let go. NO ABSENCES WHATSOEVER for 180 days. With that being said, nearly 180 days into my probation they did NOT let me go, although I had clearly violated the attendance policy. So at 180 days in, I was off of probation and a full union backed employee. Fantastic, right? After 180 days I was eligible for full benefits, which included 2 weeks paid leave. Since my medical issues were getting worse at that time, I was relieved that if I had to miss work, it would no longer be unpaid. That’s what I THOUGHT. Although I was eligible to receive full benefits now….it didn’t include the 2 weeks of paid leave. I had to wait 1 year before I was eligible to utilize that benefit. FMLA was an option….once I had worked a total of 1200 hours. Needless to say I wasn’t close.

    Still completely unaware of what the company’s full attendance policy was, I missed days that I needed to….due to flair ups….but ALWAYS brought Dr documentation with me when I came back to work. It wasn’t until I had missed enough days that a written warning was to be issued, that the full attendance policy was explained to me.

    8 – EXCUSED ABSENCES (Dr documentation upon return) – Termination
    7 – UNEXCUSED ABSENCES (no Dr documentation upon return) – Termination
    3 – NO CALL NO SHOWS/CALL INS LESS THAN 60 MINUTES BEFORE SHIFT – Termination

    According to my union reps, as well as my HR director….if I continued to need shifts off due to my ongoing medical issues, I could miss 7 days (with a note), 6 days (without a note), and 2 days (no call no show). That is 15 available absences I would be able to utilize before I would have to be terminated.

    I was upfront and honest with HR & my union reps as soon as we had my first hearing. I let them know that the reason for my missed days was all due to the same medical issue. I wasn’t trying to hide what was going on.

    There wasn’t a lot I could do at that point. I had to come to terms with the fact that unless I somehow kicked my ailment in the near future, the odds were pretty good that I wouldn’t make it to 1 year before their policy dictated I be terminated. At that point I requested that should the day come that I had reached my max and Termination was next, would they allow me to resign in lue of being terminated. I was concerned that, should I be separated from them, any new potential employers would shy away from me if I was terminated. They agreed.

    After a hearing informing me that my next absence would result in a 3 day suspension, my union rep advised me to be in contact with Mike directly if I miss work from that point moving forward. In an effort to make sure everyone was on the same page.

    The day did come when all I had left were the 2 no call no shows to stretch out. After the second, my Dr had informed me that nothing was going to change overnight.

    Basically, I wasn’t going to survive the attendance policy. First thing I did was call my HR director…..
    I got his voicemail.
    I left a message advising him of the situation and that he please return my call and let me know if a written resignation was required as well as when I could turn in my badge.
    ……no call back from HR.
    The next morning I called again and this time I asked to speak with the assistant…..
    I got her voicemail.
    I left her the same message as well as informed her of my previous days message to her surperior.
    ……no call back AGAIN from HR

    At this point I knew I was no longer an employee but now needed to know 3 things….
    1. DO THEY NEED A WRITTEN RESIGNATION??
    2. WHEN CAN I TURN IN MY BADGE??
    3. CAN I COME IN TO PICK UP MY LAST PAYCHECK???
    So I called HR again and left a 3rd message in as many days.
    ……no call back from HR.

    I went into the office at that point to get some sort of answer. I was told that I had 3 no call no shows in a row and was terminated. My check would be mailed to me.

    After all that, I wish they had just told me upfront what the attendance policy was so I could NOT take the position and look for one more suitable for me elsewhere. But they didn’t, I took the job, and was discharged.
    I could be CURRENTLY employed by another employer right now had they disclosed all the information up front. But they didn’t and now I’m out of work.

    So, I’m expected to adhere to standard operating procedures & policy guidelines, or face reprimand then Termination…..while they blatantly ignore established probationary period attendance guidelines??!

    Policy says: NO ABSENCES FOR 180 DAYS.
    I missed 2.5 days during that 180 day period. They needed builders badly so they ignored policy guidelines.

    Sorry for the novel!
    Is there any way that I am going to found eligible for unemployment benefits after the fact finding interview??
    Or am I shit outta luck?

    Thanks for any advice or ideas you may have on my situation.

    1. Thank you for writing to us. It looks like you went through plenty of hardships in the recent past. Unfortunately, the UI system does not consider personal reasons such as health conditions. Unemployment benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their job due to involuntary reasons. Having said this, I suggest you speak the Unemployment Office to check if they have a solution.

    1. Steve,

      You can apply for UI compensation immediately after being unemployed. There is no waiting period that I know of.

  5. I was employed in iowa for 21 years and was laid off. I will possibly receive a severance for 21 weeks. Does this prevent me from filing for unemployment?

  6. My company is eliminating my job, but has made an offer to me for another position at a loss of $6 an hour, if I do not take the offer can I still qualify for unemployment?

    1. Kimberlee,

      I am not sure if you qualify under such circumstances. Please call the Unemployment Office in your state.

  7. I had recently quit my job, How we communicated was through a chat room most of the time. My manager was in a country, One day in the chat he was complaining about a ticket and said “WHY DIDINT ANYONE PUT IN A TICKET” What the F…ck, with a @sign and my name after, then all caps ARE YOU GUYS SLEEPING” I WANT TO KNOW NOW! Another time after that he had said that he contacted our vendor and got to B.th her out then he said man that felt good. They cuss a lot in our team meetings. I have screenshots of the above info as proof. Do you think this is considered a hostile environment would i be eligible for benefits?

    1. Brian,

      It can be considered “Hostile”. Make sure to keep all supporting documents handy in case of a dispute. You need to justify well in case of a hearing.

  8. My job fire me because I told the Don/Adon I had a video recording of my ex co worker in nurse on the computer going through residents charts calling off medicine to the cna..in that’s a hippa violation and my job fire me without ever seeing the video so they don’t know if I actually have a video or not so can I still get unemployment..???

    1. Roberta,

      It looks like your exit was not your fault. Please consider filing and keep supporting documents handy in case of a dispute.

  9. If I am terminated and offered another job in the company at a substantial pay reduction and do not take it am I still eligible to collect unemployment ben fits?

  10. 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?

    1. Kari,

      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.

  11. 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

  12. 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?

  13. 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?

    1. George,

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

  14. 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

    1. Patty,

      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.

  15. 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.

    1. Carolyn,

      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.

  16. 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?

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

  17. 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?

    Thanks

  18. 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.

    1. 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.

  19. 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

    1. 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.

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

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

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

  21. 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

    1. Ashley,

      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.

  22. 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?

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

  23. 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?

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

      Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  24. 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 ?

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

  25. 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?

  26. 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.

    1. 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.

  27. 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?

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

  28. 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?

  29. 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.

    1. 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.

  30. 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.

    1. 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.

  31. 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

    1. 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.

  32. 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.

    1. 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.

  33. 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?

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

  34. 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?

  35. 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…

  36. 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.

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

      Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state.

  37. 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.

    1. 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.

  38. 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?

    1. 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.

  39. 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?

    1. 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.

  40. 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.

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

    1. Please check with the labor dept in your state.

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

    1. 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.

  42. 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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