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Overview of Help for Iowans Facing Job Loss


What are unemployment benefits?
  • For people who are unemployed or working reduced hours through no fault of their own
  • Also called unemployment insurance
  • Paid for by employers who are covered by Iowa Employment Security Law
  • Administered by Iowa Workforce Development (IWD)
Can I get unemployment benefits?
You must be:
  • totally or partially unemployed
  • Have worked and earned a minimum amount of wages in work that is covered by unemployment insurance in the past 15 to 18 months. (IWD will determine this)
  • Be able and available to work
  • Be registered for work at your local Workforce Development Center or online at
  • Be actively seeking work
What does it mean to be totally or partially unemployed?
This means that you have been laid off, fired, quit or had your hours cut.
What does it mean to be "able and available" to work?
This means that you are not sick or on medical leave, that you are not out of town or on vacation, that you have transportation and child care.
Can I work part-time and still get benefits?
Yes, but a portion of your part-time wages may be deducted from your benefit amount. You must report all part-time income to IWD when it is earned, not just when you get paid. Additionally, you must continue to look for full-time work.
What if I want to go to school, can I still get benefits?
Generally, you will not be considered able and available to work if you are going to school full time. However, you can make an application for "Department Approved Training" with Iowa Workforce Development. If your schooling or training is approved, you do not have to be available for work or complete work searches to get benefits.
What does it mean if my application for benefits is contested?
  • All claims where you quit or were fired are automatically contested
  • Employers may also protest a claim


Last Review and Update: Mar 25, 2020
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