UI Benefits Application Process

Required Information

Before beginning the application process, individuals need to have the following information available:

  • Social Security Number
  • Complete mailing address, including ZIP code
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Driver's license number or State ID card number
  • Company names for all your employers from the past 18 months as they appear on your paycheck stubs or W-2 forms
  • Complete mailing addresses of employers, including ZIP code and the city in which the business is physically located
  • Your start and end dates with each employer, including month, day, and year
  • Your reason for leaving each employer (lack of work, voluntary quit, discharge, leave of absence)
  • Employment authorization number and expiration date (if a non-citizen)
  • If you served in the military the past 18 months, DD 214 Member #4 Form.
  • If you worked for the federal government as a civilian employee in the last 18 months, Standard Form 8 or Standard Form 50. Also, compile your total wages earned with the federal employer in the last 18 months and indicate how you were paid (hourly, weekly, and monthly).
  • Full legal name(s), SSN, dates of birth and relationship of any dependents, up to a maximum of four

How to Apply for Benefits

The UI benefits application may be filed:

For additional assistance, contact IWD by email or phone.

Claim Effective Date

The effective date of all UI claims, regardless of filing method, will be the Sunday of the week in which the application was filed. The effective date of a claim will not be changed for applications that were not filed in a timely manner. 

IMPORTANT: If an individual waits until after the calendar week has ended on Saturday to file a UI claim, the individual will not be eligible to be paid for the prior week.

Eligibility Requirements

To meet the preliminary eligibility requirements, an individual must:

  • Be totally or partially unemployed
  • Have worked and earned a certain amount of wages in work covered by UI in the last 15 to 18 months
  • Have lost their job through no fault of their own
  • Be able to work and available for work

To remain eligible for UI benefits, an individual must:

  • Be actively seeking work (work search may be waived if certain criteria are met)
  • Be registered for work with IWD (unless waived) at the nearest IowaWORKS center or online at www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov
  • Keep a record of all work search contacts and be ready to provide a copy if requested
  • Notify IWD of any refused job offers or referrals on the weekly claim
  • Report if they quit or are discharged from any job while claiming UI benefits
  • Notify IWD if they move or leave the area for more than three consecutive working days
  • Report all wages (whether holiday, vacation, severance, part-time or any other form of payment) when they are earned, not when payment is received
  • Contact IWD if workers’ compensation, private pension or any other type of pay is received
  • Notify IWD if they enroll in or start school

Reactivating a Claim

An individual can start and stop claiming weekly benefits as many times as necessary during the benefit year. This is called a break in reporting status. Any break in reporting requires the individual to file another initial claim application during the week they want to start collecting benefits again. Any employment during the break must be reported.

If any weekly claim filing is missed during the claim year, an individual must file an initial claim application to reactivate their claim. This would apply even if 1 week is not filed timely.  Refer to the instructions in the “Filing Weekly Claim” section.