Monetary Eligibility

After completing an application for unemployment insurance, you will be mailed a monetary record on a green sheet of paper.  This is not a guarantee of benefits and does not mean that you have been approved to receive benefits; you must meet additional requirements to receive unemployment insurance benefits.  We do not send out notices of approval.  It is your responsibility to check and know the status of your claim. Check your benefit inquiry to see if and when you will receive payments. 

Monetary Record

The monetary record contains the:

  • Start date of claim
  • Number of dependents claimed
  • Work search requirements
  • Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA)
  • Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA)
  • Employers you worked for in the base period 
  • Wages earned each quarter during the base period
  • Last employer you indicated on your application

Carefully review all information on the monetary record. Contact us immediately or send a letter appealing the monetary record if any information is incorrect. The appeal should include copies of any check stubs, W-2 forms or other proof of earnings, if available.

Benefit Year

The benefit year is a one-year period from the claim effective date. The claim can be opened and closed as many times as necessary during the benefit year. Benefits may be paid on a claim until the maximum benefit amount is exhausted or the benefit year ends, whichever comes first. The unemployment insurance claim expires at the end of the benefit year, even if all funds have not been paid. If the maximum benefit amount is exhausted before the claim expires, you must wait until the end of the benefit year before filing a new claim.

Base Period  

This is an image showing base period calendar

The base period is a four quarter (one year) time frame using the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters at the time an initial unemployment insurance claim is filed. Qualified earnings in the base period determine your weekly benefit amount and maximum benefit amount. Earnings received in the current and most recent quarter are not used to determine monetary eligibility.

EXAMPLE: If a new claim is filed in April, May, or June (second quarter) of this year, the base period is January 1 through December 31 of last year.

Alternate Base Period

If you fail to qualify monetarily using the regular base period, it may be possible to use an Alternate Base Period (ABP). To see if you qualify and to request an ABP contact us at uiclaimshelp@iwd.iowa.gov or 1-866-239-0843.

Wage Requirements

To be eligible for benefits, you must have:

  • Been paid wages by covered employers in at least two quarters of the base period
  • Total base period wages of at least 1.25 times the wages earned in the highest base period quarter
  • Wages of at least $1,660 in one quarter and at least $830 in a different quarter (program year July 7, 2019 - July 4, 2020)

Dependents

The number of dependents is used to help determine your weekly benefit amount and maximum benefit amount. Adding dependents will increase your weekly benefit amount and may increase your maximum benefit amount. A dependent is any individual who was claimed on the prior year’s income tax return. A claim may include a maximum of four dependents. Dependents can only be added within 10 days of filing your initial claim. A spouse may be considered a dependent if they earned $120 or less in wages (excluding self-employment) during the week before the claim effective date.

Dependents cannot be:

  • Yourself
  • Any  person already listed on another non-expired claim
  • A spouse who listed you on their non-expired claim 

Dependents claimed incorrectly may result in an overpayment and may be reviewed by the fraud investigations team.

Weekly Benefit Amount

The weekly benefit amount (WBA) is determined by two things: the wages earned in your highest quarter of the base period and by the number of dependents on your claim. To calculate the WBA, the highest quarter of base period wages is divided by:

  • 23 for zero dependents (maximum of $481)
  • 22 for one dependent (maximum of $500)
  • 21 for two dependents (maximum of $518)
  • 20 for three dependents (maximum of $545)
  • 19 for four dependents (maximum of $591)

Maximum Benefit Amount

The maximum benefit amount (MBA) is either 26 times the weekly benefit amount (WBA) or one-third of your total base period wages, whichever is less. If your last employer permanently closed the business location, your MBA may be increased. The business closing MBA will be either 39 times the WBA or one-half your total base period wages, whichever is less. The business closing WBA will not change.

The minimum and maximum WBAs and MBAs change each year for new claims filed after the first Sunday in July.

Second Benefit Year 

To be eligible for a second claim year, you must earn wages in covered employment of at least eight times your weekly benefit amount since the effective date of your previous unemployment insurance claim. Second benefit year claims can still be filed even if eight times the weekly benefit has not been earned. After eight times the weekly benefit amount of the previous claim year has been earned, contact us at uiclaimshelp@iwd.iowa.gov or by phone at 866-239-0843, Monday through Friday from 8:00am - 4:30pm.
 
Example: If your last unemployment claim was paying $450 per week you would have to show $3,600 ($450 x8) in earnings since you filed your last claim.

Individual