Iowa Unemployment Calculator
Using the Iowa unemployment calculator, you can estimate your weekly benefit amount. This tool takes into account factors like your previous earnings and dependents, giving you a clear picture of what your Iowa unemployment benefits will be.
Knowing this information ahead of time helps you plan your finances more effectively when you’re out of work.
Iowa Unemployment Benefits Calculator
How are Iowa unemployment benefits calculated?
Your weekly benefit amount is based on your gross earnings during your base period. Not only are your base period earnings used to calculate your benefits, but they are also used to determine if you are financially eligible for Iowa unemployment in the first place.
The weekly benefit amount (WBA) is determined by the wages earned in the highest quarter of the base period and the number of dependents you have (up to 4 dependents).
To calculate the WBA, the wages in the highest quarter of the base period are divided by:
- 23 for 0 dependents (maximum of $582)
- 22 for 1 dependent (maximum of $604)
- 21 for 2 dependents (maximum of $626)
- 20 for 3 dependents (maximum of $659)
- 19 for 4 dependents (maximum of $714)
For example, if you earned $12,000 in your highest quarter and have 2 dependents, you would divide $12,000 by 21. Your weekly benefit amount would be $571 per week.
$12,000 \ 21 = $571
But if you have no dependents, you would dive $12,000 by 23, as shown above.
$12,000 \ 23 = $521
Here a few examples of what you can expect:
- If you make $100 per week in Iowa, your estimated weekly benefit is $56 for up to 16 weeks.
- If you make $200 per week in Iowa, your estimated weekly benefit is $113 for up to 16 weeks.
- If you make $400 per week in Iowa, your estimated weekly benefit is $226 for up to 16 weeks.
- If you make $500 per week in Iowa, your estimated weekly benefit is $282 for up to 16 weeks.
- If you make $1000 per week in Iowa, your estimated weekly benefit is $565 for up to 16 weeks.
- If you make $1500 per week in Iowa, your estimated weekly benefit is $582 for up to 16 weeks.
In Iowa, the maximum benefit anyone can receive is $714 per week. This only applies if you have the maximum of four eligible dependents. If you don’t have any dependents, the maximum amount you can receive is $582 per week.
How long do benefits last?
Iowa unemployment benefits last up to 16 weeks. During periods of high unemployment, an unemployment extension may be available.
Maximum Benefits Amount (MBA)
In addition to your weekly benefit amount (WBA), there is also a Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA) which applies to the entire year.
The maximum benefit amount you can get in unemployment benefits is either 16 times your weekly benefit amount or a third of your overall wages during the base period, whichever is lower. Each year, the lowest and highest weekly and maximum benefit amounts are updated for new claims filed after the first Sunday in July.
What is a base period?
In Iowa, the base period is the first 4 of the last 5 calendar quarters before you applied for unemployment compensation.
Your weekly benefit amount and maximum benefit amount depend on your earnings during this base period. Note that your income from the most recently completed quarter won’t count toward your eligibility.
Example: If you file a new unemployment claim in the second quarter of the year (April, May, June), your base period would be from January 1 to December 31 of the previous year.
Alternate Base Period
If you don’t meet the income requirements with the regular base period, you might be able to use an Alternate Base Period (ABP). The alternate base period is the four completed calendar quarters before you filed an initial unemployment claim.
Issues that can affect your weekly payment
There are several issues that can change your weekly benefit amount. Part-time earnings, pensions, vacation pay, and child support can lower the amount you receive.
If you owe child support, the Child Support Recovery Unit can take up to half of your unemployment insurance benefits to cover child support payments. You will receive a notice telling you how much will be deducted.
The deducted amount appears on your IRS Form 1099-G because it’s paid to another agency for you. If you want to change or stop these deductions, you need to contact the Child Support Recovery Unit or go through the court system.
Your weekly unemployment benefits can be partially reduced if you have other income. Gross earnings, the money you make before any taxes or other deductions, need to be reported during the week you earn them, not when you get paid.
Example of Reporting Earnings: If you worked 8 hours at $15.00 per hour, you’d report $120.00 as your gross earnings for that week.
The type of income you report can impact your weekly benefit amount differently. In general, you can earn up to 25% of your weekly benefit amount (WBA) without reducing your benefits. However, you still need to report any earnings, even if they’re below this 25% threshold.
Example of Benefit Calculation
If your WBA is $500 and you earn $300 in a week, first you would subtract 25% of $500 (which is $125) from $500, leaving $375. This $375 is then deducted from your WBA, leaving you with a weekly benefit payment of $125.
Note: If you earn $15 or more above your WBA, you won’t get any benefits for that week.
This rule applies to various kinds of income like wages, holiday pay, sick leave, stand-by pay, tips, and commissions. It’s important to be honest when reporting income to avoid issues with Iowa unemployment fraud.
Fully Deductible Income
Some types of income are fully deductible instead of partially deductible. This means that each dollar you earn reduces your benefit payment by one dollar (dollar-for-dollar). This includes vacation pay, severance, pensions where the employer contributed 100%, and worker’s compensation among others.
Example: If your WBA is $500 and you get $390 as severance, your benefit for that week would be reduced to $110 ($500 – $390 = $110).
In both cases, it’s important to report all income when you file your weekly claim.
Payments for Iowa unemployment benefits are sent either through direct deposit into your bank account or via an IWD Debit Card issued by U.S. Bank.
You can opt for your unemployment benefits to go directly into a checking or savings account. The money gets deposited 4-5 business days after your weekly claim is filed, pending eligibility verification.
It’s your job to enter and maintain accurate bank account information on the IWD website, as they will not make changes for you. Incorrect account information can lead to delays or even the loss of funds. If you don’t want to manage your bank account details online, the default payment method will revert to the IWD Debit Card.
The IWD Debit Card is another quick way to receive unemployment benefits. When you first apply for Iowa unemployment, you can choose this payment method and a U.S. Bank ReliaCard will be mailed to you. The card stays valid for three years, so keep it safe.
Payments are deposited into the card account 3-4 business days after you file your weekly claim, as long as you meet all UI eligibility requirements such as performing work search activities and reporting any offers for suitable work.
The card comes with a range of features like balance alerts and deposit notifications, and you can manage it via the ReliaCard mobile app. Contact the Iowa Workforce Division for more information.
Paying taxes on your Iowa unemployment compensation
Your unemployment benefits are subject to both federal and Iowa state taxes.
Each year, you’ll receive an IRS Form 1099-G by January 31, detailing the benefits you’ve received and any taxes withheld. This form is required for filing your state and federal tax returns.
When you initially apply for unemployment benefits, you can choose to have 10% withheld for federal taxes and 5% for Iowa state taxes.
If your address changes, be sure to update it with Iowa Workforce Development so you receive your 1099-G. You are responsible for any unpaid taxes.