Automated Phone Option Phased out Oct. 1; File Unemployment Insurance Claims Online

DES MOINES, IA – Beginning October 1, 2016, Iowans filing continuing unemployment claims will complete the process online rather than over the phone. Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) Unemployment Insurance (UI) Division is phasing out the automated telephone option and asking Iowans to file online using a smart phone, tablet or computer. Iowans can also review their benefit status online.

Ryan West, UI Division Administrator, said he anticipates a smooth transition for the small number of individuals who file unemployment insurance benefits over the phone.

“A great deal of the public already use the online option,” West said. “By transitioning the remaining Iowans to online filing, our claims specialists can provide better customer service to Iowans filing for unemployment by more effectively and efficiently processing continuing claims online.”  West further added that the change will help reduce the amount of overpayments and fraudulent claims.

Individuals receiving unemployment benefits were notified in July about the change. Recent upgrades will allow Iowans to use a smart phone or tablet in addition to computers, to file weekly (continuing) unemployment insurance claims and review their benefit status online.  New or initial unemployment insurance claims must be filed on a computer, due to the amount of information required to set up a new account.  The mobile tool is available in English and Spanish.

Claimants can follow these simple steps to file weekly unemployment insurance claims and check benefit status on a mobile device or tablet:

If individuals do not have access to a computer, Customer Service representatives are available to process claims over the phone on a limited basis during the transition period.  Claimants can also receive assistance at any of the Iowa Works offices. 

The UI Customer Service number is 1-866-239-0843 and representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  “Our goal is for all Iowans to submit their unemployment claims filings online, and we thank Iowans for their cooperation,” West said. “With the majority of job applications being submitted online, it is only natural we move to primarily an online system for filing unemployment claims.