Reemployment Case Management - FAQs

Reemployment Case Management - Frequently Asked Questions

Detailed instructions for Iowa Unemployment Claimants can be found on the Unemployment Insurance & IowaWORKS Reemployment Activities landing page.

What is the Reemployment Case Management program (RCM)? 

This program, which launched in January 2022, represents a heightened focus by Iowa Workforce Development on getting unemployed Iowans back to work as quickly as possible. Simply put, RCM provides enhanced services to unemployment claimants at the beginning of the claims process and assists them in finding jobs more quickly, including by helping match their skills with the skills need by local companies with vacant jobs.

How IS RCM different than the PREVIOUS unemployment system? 

Participating claimants now get more attention earlier in the process so that they may find a job more quickly. Along with the extra assistance, IWD also has increased work search expectations and re-focused the list of acceptable “reemployment activity” that claimants must complete each week to maintain their unemployment benefits.

How exactly DOES RCM work? 

IWD hired 18 new Career Planners to work with jobless Iowans from the first week of their unemployment claims. Career Planners provide direct assistance to unemployed clients, including making connections to training and educational opportunities in high-demand careers.

This process is facilitated by new functionality added to the IowaWORKS computer system. This enables staff to compare individuals’ work histories with local labor market information and help claimants and Career Planners set job search activity targets. In short, the software helps match an individual’s skills with those most sought after by employers and assists the clients by identifying areas where their job searches are most likely to be successful.

Career Planners also verify the eligibility of unemployment claims weekly, review job searches, offer reemployment services, including referrals to other workforce training and education programs, and discuss claimants’ job interviews, if applicable.


The RCM program and Iowa’s work search requirements apply to most claimants filing for unemployment, including many workers who are not currently working because of temporary layoffs.  For each unemployment claimant, IWD staff will review an individual’s work history to make certain that he or she qualifies – but in most cases, participation and work search will be required. Unlike the majority of claimants, temporary layoff claimants will not be contacted about the program until their fifth week of receiving unemployment. 

Workers from a very limited number of occupations will be exempted from work search and RCM requirements. Iowa Code section 96.4(3)(b) references individuals on a short-term temporary layoff as being exempt from work search and defines that term as being limited to an employee performing “work related to highway construction, repair or maintenance…” Workers not under this classification do not qualify for an exemption.

The RCM program and work search requirements are a concentrated effort to balance various needs in Iowa’s workforce.  Iowa’s need for workers is too severe to allow workers who are physically able to work to remain out of work during down periods of their primary occupation.  To progress as a state, we need workers to be fully engaged in Iowa’s economy and to find work when their primary job is temporarily unavailable.  Employers are encouraged to work with other employers in their region to consider options to provide year-round work for Iowans.  If assistance is needed to connect with other employers, please contact IWD’s Business Engagement team at  The Business Engagement Division was created to act as a one-stop resource for a variety of business needs.  Members will be happy to respond to your questions.

Why do you think this will change anything? 

RCM is an extension of similar programs funded by the U.S. Department of Labor through Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) grants. Such programs have been proven to decrease the amount of time spent on unemployment benefits and to help claimants land better jobs.

The difference between RESEA and RCM is that Reemployment Case Management works with claimants earlier in the process, and the program includes more people.

When DID the RCM program start? 

IWD launched the Reemployment Case Management beginning with the week of January 9, 2022.

Who IS included in the program? 

Reemployment Case Management represents a substantial change in Iowa’s approach to unemployment, but RCM participation does not apply uniformly to all Iowa workers because circumstances differ from person to person.  For example, members of labor unions will be excluded from the program, per Iowa law.

Most people who claim unemployment benefits will be contacted for participation in RCM shortly after their first claim is filed.

In general, participation in the RCM program is based on IWD’s case-by-case examination of a claimant’s work history and relationship to his or her employer. 

What ARE claimants required to do in the RCM program? 

Meetings between Career Planners and claimants involve reviewing the unemployment claim, discussing work search requirements, and reviewing previous reemployment activities. Career Planners also discuss the importance of resume building, provide sample resumes, and share available reemployment services such as workshops, job fairs, registered apprenticeships, etc. They will connect unemployment claimant to any other applicable service depending on the client’s skills, ability, and situation.

You do not need to do anything to begin the process other than respond when you are contacted.

Career Planners will begin reaching out during the first week claimants file for unemployment benefits. These phone calls may come without advanced notice, so it is important for claimants to follow up as soon as possible once contact has been made. Failure to engage with Career Planners could result in your unemployment claim being locked or frozen until the proper information is provided.

What if I am selected for RCM even though I think I should be excluded? 

Unemployment claimants who believe they should be excluded from participating in RCM must be sure to share that information with IWD Career Planners when the claimant is first contacted about the program. Misclassifications are unlikely to be corrected without your input.

A claimant’s failure to respond when a Career Planner makes contact about the program could perpetuate any problem and ultimately could lead to the unemployment claim being locked or frozen until necessary information is provided

Is meeting with Career Planners the only requirement for being in the RCM? 

Unemployment claimants also will face a higher requirement in terms of the amount of weekly reemployment activities that they must perform to maintain unemployment benefits under Reemployment Case Management.

What ARE the new work search requirements? 

Under RCM, jobless Iowans are required to engage in four reemployment activities per week to maintain their unemployment benefits. At least three (3) of those reemployment activities are required to be job applications. 

You are required to create an IowaWORKS profile and use to certify your reemployment activities. You must certify your reemployment activities prior to filing your weekly claim.

At the same time, IWD’s list of activities that qualify as “reemployment activity” has been narrowed to 12 items, ensuring that claimants are focused on those activities that are most likely to help them find rewarding careers.

What activities qualify under the new work search requirements for maintaining an unemployment claim? 

With the launch of RCM, Iowa now requires that most unemployment claimants complete a minimum of four reemployment activities per week. Claimants will report this activity through the IowaWORKS online system.

Acceptable Reemployment Activities

At least three of the four activities reported each week must be one of these:

  • Apply for a potential job opening by submitting a resume or application through any of the following methods:
    • Online
    • In Person
    • Email
    • Fax/mail
  • Take a Civil Service exam

Any of the following activities also can be reported to meet a claimant’s reemployment activity requirements for a given week. (The total number of activities must be four or more, including at least three from the above list.)

  • Create a reemployment plan (RESEA or other programs).
  • Attend any IowaWORKS workshop.
  • Attend a job fair sponsored by IowaWORKS or partners (Keep the flyer or advertisement).
  • Appointment with a Career Planner at an IowaWORKS office.
  • Appointment with a core WIOA partner (vocation rehabilitation services, adult education & literacy, employment services, training/education).
  • Mock Interview at IowaWORKS.
  • Attend a scheduled career networking meeting with IowaWORKS office.
  • Register with a placement facility of a school or college. 
  • Interview for a job (virtually, in person, or at a job fair).
  • Veterans may submit a resume to Home Base Iowa (