Iowa Unemployment

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Unemployment Compensation

Max Weekly Benefit Amt.


Max Weeks of Benefits


Max Benefit Amount


If you are approved for unemployment insurance compensation, you will receive a benefit payment for each week you file weekly claims, until you have used up all your maximum benefits or you find suitable work. Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) sends benefit payments to your bank account through direct deposit or to a pre-paid debit card run through Bank of America. Your first benefit payment is typically issued three weeks after filing your initial claim for unemployment insurance. After receiving your first payment, your benefits will usually be available by that Thursday if you file your weekly claim for the previous week by Monday.

You can estimate your eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits, but the best way to determine how much you will actually receive is to apply for unemployment benefits with accurate information.

Calculating Iowa Unemployment Benefit Amounts

Determine Your Weekly Benefit Amount

Your Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) is determined by how much income you received during your highest-earning quarter along with the number of dependents you claim. Your base period earnings are determined by the first four of the last five calendar quarters from the date you filed your initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits.

The maximum WBA depends on the average weekly wage in Iowa. To determine how much your WBA might be, add up your total earnings from all four quarters in your base period and divide the sum by the appropriate fraction according to your dependents.

Number of Dependents

Weekly Benefit Amount -

Fraction of High Quarter Wages

Maximum Weekly Benefit Amount - Percentage of Statewide Weekly Wage
















Determine Your Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA)

The Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA) you can receive in one calendar year is the lesser of the following:

  • 26 times your Weekly Benefit Amount OR One-third of your total base period wages

Work Search Requirements

Iowa Work Registration Program

To remain eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, you must comply with Iowa work search requirements. Work search requirements state you must actively search for suitable work every week you file to collect benefits. You must keep a detailed log of your employment search and provide a copy of your work log to IWD when requested. Your log must include:

  • Date of contact with employer
  • Name and contact information of prospective employer
  • Method of contact (online application, in person, by phone, etc.)
  • Outcome of contact with employer

Print out Iowa’s official “Record of Work Search” here.

You may not have to meet work search requirements if you are temporarily laid off from work with a set return date. Union members must contact their local union hiring hall once a week to meet work search requirements.

What You Need for Work Registration

Iowa does not require you to register with any online work system. But you must keep a detailed log of your work search efforts every week. Your log must contain accurate and detailed information about your job search. You can print out Iowa’s official “Record of Work Search” online from the back of the state UI handbook here. If you have a physical copy of the UI claimant handbook, you can write your log in the book’s record log.

When you first file for unemployment insurance, you are not expected to accept job offers that:

  • Offers a wage below the minimum wage.
  • Results directly from a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute.
  • Offers substantially less favorable wages, hours, or other working conditions to the claimant than those prevailing for similar work in the area.
  • Would require the you to join or resign from a labor organization.

The longer you collect benefits, the less of a wage your are expected to accept. You will receive:

  • 100 percent for work offered during the first five weeks of the unemployment claim.
  • 75 percent for work offered during the 6th-12th weeks of the unemployment claim.
  • 70 percent for work offered during the 13th-18th weeks of the unemployment claim.
  • 65 percent for work offered after the 18th week of the unemployment claim.