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File your initial claim for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in just a few steps and begin your path to reemployment.

We're here to help. Please make sure to review the information in the sections below to understand who's eligible for benefits, what information is required when you apply, and how to register for work once you've applied.

Claimants must also verify their identity as part of the claims process. Get started by following the steps below on this page.

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To be eligible to receive UI benefits, applicants must:

  • Be totally or partially unemployed.
  • Have worked and earned a minimum amount of wages in work covered by UI in the last 15 to 18 months.
  • Have lost his or her job through no fault of their own.
  • Be able and available to work.
  • Be actively seeking work. (Work search requirement may be waived if certain criteria are met.)
  • Be registered for work (unless the work search requirement is waived).

The following information is needed when filing for UI benefits:

  • Social Security Number
  • Name, payroll address, and telephone number of your last employer
  • Start and end dates of your last job
  • Whether or not you will receive vacation pay, severance, etc.
  • Alien registration number (if not a U.S. citizen or permanent refugee)
  • DD-214 (Member 4) if you served in the U.S. military during the last 18 months
  • Verification of your identity through the answering of security questions
  • Standard Form 8 (SF-8) if you worked for the federal government in the last 18 months
  • Name(s), date(s) of birth, and Social Security Number(s) of any dependents that are claimed as exemptions on your federal income tax return
    • Spouses may be claimed as a dependent if their gross wages were $120.00 or less in the week prior to filing your claim.
    • Self-employment does not count as gross wages for dependent purposes.
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You are required to register for work when you apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI) and you are no longer attached to an employer. You can do this in one of two different ways:

  1. At a local IowaWORKS center 
  2. Or online at If you have already registered for work on and have created an Employer Searchable résumé, then you have met this requirement, and no further action is needed.

To Register for Work in Iowa, you must complete the registration, answer all questions, and add a résumé using the IowaWORKS website,

A work registration will be considered valid when, at a minimum, the following is in the claimant's account at

  1. The claimant's Social Security Number
  2. An active résumé available online for review by employers

For any questions about completing your work registration or setting up your résumé, please contact your local IowaWORKS center. Failure to complete the online application will result in the denial of your unemployment benefits if you are required to look for work.  

For more information, view the video at this link on the required reemployment activities you must complete while receiving benefits, or visit this page on our website.

NOTE:  It is important to register using your Social Security Number (SSN), because the system may not be able to find your information based on your name and other identifying information.  If you do not use your SSN, we may be unable to verify that you have registered for work and benefits may be withheld until this requirement has been verified.

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There are two ways to apply for benefits:

  1. Filing for UI benefits online (this is the fastest and most efficient way)
  2. Or, file at a local IowaWORKS Center.

If you've reviewed the information on this page and are ready to apply, click here to start your claims application or visit the link in the box below.


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IWD is here to help with answers to any questions that may come up as you apply. For more information: 

Getting Started

How Do I File for Unemployment?

If you're filing for benefits for the first time, be sure to check out our starting guide.

Online Filing is Easy, Woman and Computer
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  • Please have your information ready to go before you file. To receive benefits, you will also need to verify your identity, either during the online application process or afterward by providing required documents. Visit the Identity Verification page for more information.
  • Effective April 1, 2024, all individuals who file a claim or weekly claim with IWD will be required to use to verify their identity.. Learn how to use at this link: Using for Identity Verification.
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  • IWD does not ask for unemployment insurance overpayments to be paid back by credit card or gift cards. If you are determined to have received an unemployment insurance overpayment, you will be notified by mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • In addition, IWD does not request sensitive account information through email communications. Individuals filing for unemployment insurance benefits will receive pertinent information regarding their account through the U.S. Postal Service.
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