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How to File for Unemployment in Iowa


DES MOINES, Iowa — As layoffs continue around the state as a result of the spread of COVID-19, many Iowans will find themselves applying for unemployment for the first time. 

To file a claim, it’s recommended to complete the application online. For those who do not have access to the internet, call 866-239-0842 to file over the phone. Claims amounts are determined on the amount of wages that an individual has earned over the last 18 months. Individuals who have exhausted PTO and Holidays will also be eligible for unemployment.

“You file the claim and then the system calculates what you’re going to be eligible for, and then they send you what’s called a monetary statement. That will arrive within the next three to five business days. On there, it’ll tell you what you qualify for,” said Deputy Director of Iowa Workforce Development Ryan West.

Checks will arrive within 10 to 14 business days. After the first initial payment, an individual will receive a weekly unemployment check. In order to continue to receive checks, Iowans must then file a weekly certification which can be done online. 

“What we’re trying to do is fast track people through so we can get them paid as quickly as possible. Essentially, anybody who’s affected by the COVID-19 virus should be eligible for unemployment, give or take. Everybody’s claim is unique to themselves, so I don’t want to make a blanket statement and say everybody will be qualified, but we’re certainly trying to get everybody through,” said West.

The Iowa Workforce Development website also has a list of business hiring temporary employees in response to COVID-19. Some of those businesses include the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Hy-Vee, Good Samaritan Society, Walmart, etc. For a full list, click here.

West recommends regularly checking the Iowa Workforce Development’s website for updated information.


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