COVID-19 Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits for Iowa Workers

Update to iowa workers on Coronavirus unemployment

UPDATED 5/11/21: Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced that Iowans will no longer be able to seek Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, effectively ending this program early. The federal program is set to expire in September. The governor cited hiring needs of employers as the reason to eliminate the extra $300 per week in benefits. Read full story at The Gazette.

UPDATED 4/29/21: The IowaWorks website is now offering additional ways for claimants to get help. Job seekers can submit an Unemployment Help Request Form for assistance in filing for unemployment or by emailing IowaWorks.  Additionally, a callback service is available for those who wish to receive help by phone.  Local centers and satellite offices for IowaWORKS will be providing limited in-person services to assist job seekers with work search activities and basic employment assistance. Services will include assistance with job searches, applications, resume preparation, and other services to help with employment needs. Individuals should telephone their local office first to schedule an appointment as walk-in services may be limited in order to follow social distancing recommendations.

Cedar Rapids: 319-365-9474, Option #9

Iowa City: 319-351-1035, Option #9

UPDATED 2/9/21:  According to The Gazette, some Iowans have not received the extra $300 per week unemployment known as PUA or PEUC benefits since December because of errors or programming changes.  A timeline for when they may receive benefits has not been provided by Iowa Workforce Development. Additional problems with debit cards issued was also reported. In response, Iowa Workforce Development states:

Claimants who have not yet received a U.S. Bank ReliaCard® and wish to receive payments by that method, must make a payment election on the IWD website, by email (, or by telephone (1-866-239-0843), to be issued payments without further delay

Read the full story from The Gazette here.  Iowa Workforce Development has begun issuing an extra $300 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) to individuals including retroactive payments.  Always check the Iowa Workforce Development website for the latest information in unemployment benefits for Iowans.

Due to high call volume, they strongly recommend bypassing the call system and email the UI Claims Help team or visiting the claims website.
Visit UI Claims Website
UPDATED 1/5/21: Congress has passed and the President signed a new $900 billion pandemic relief package which has both direct stimulus checks as well as a temporary $300 per week supplemental unemployment benefit. Read full story on The article outlines what to expect from this new bill and provides context around the roll-out.

Iowa Workforce Development has updated their statement on their website about unemployment benefits for Iowa workers and no longer expects a gap in payments:

On Dec. 27, 2020, the President signed into law extensions for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs which were set to end December 26th.  IWD will therefore be able to prevent a gap in payments for either of these programs and individuals currently receiving benefits from the programs, will continue to receive them without interruption. IWD continues to await guidance from U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) before Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits and new applications for PUA and PEUC benefits filed after December 27th can be paid.  IWD anticipates the guidance will be issued within the next two weeks.  We will provide updates on our website and social media pages as they become available.  We will have limited resources available to answer customer service calls over the holiday season.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Who qualifies for this benefit?

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program is now in effect. To see if you qualify, please refer to this chart, or visit the Iowa Workforce Development website.

Extended benefits eligibility State of Iowa
Iowa Workforce Development

The CARES Act program has ended. In addition State of Iowa extended benefits ended October 31st. However, there are still some resources for unemployed individuals with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Some derecho-related assistance was available thru FEMA. If you have been unemployed due to the Iowa derecho, please read our other post.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program’s purpose is to provide temporary income to the unemployed due to the pandemic. Eligibility for unemployment benefits for Iowa workers include:

  • having a monetarily eligible state claim that has exhausted benefits


  • work history in the last 18 months

The first step to determine if you are eligible for unemployment benefits is to file a claim. Please note, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments are taxable.

Still have questions about unemployment benefits for Iowa Workers?

Questions can be submitted at IowaWorks’ COVID-19 email address.

Need up to date information about the current health crisis? Visit to read the latest news.

En Español: Lo que sabemos sobre la vacuna contra el COVID-19 en Iowa

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