Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some initial questions many clients have when they first contact Lombardi Law Firm. The questions below may address many initial concerns you may have. If you don't find the answers here, you should contact us for answers to questions specific to your case. The consultation is free.
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Is the information I put in my claim for Iowa unemployment benefits confidential?
The information you put in your claim is confidential. You can obtain a copy of all information in your file by contacting the Unemployment Insurance Service Center or submitting a written and signed request. Only general information may be given over the telephone. If you provide a written and signed request, wage record information will be provided to a third party.
Information on your claim becomes a matter of public record if you receive an appeal decision on your claim from an administrative law judge.
Iowa Workforce Development will release information on your claim to various federal and state agencies if requested, and if are required to provide it by law, rule or regulation.
Why might I be disqualified for Iowa unemployment benefits?
There are many reasons you might be disqualified from receiving Iowa unemployment benefits. Here are the main reasons:
- You quit your job without good cause attributable to your employer.
- You were discharged or suspended for misconduct in connection with your job.
- You refused suitable work with an employer or refused recall to suitable work by your former employer.
- You are not able to work, not available to work or not actively seeking work as required.
- You are unemployed due to a strike or labor dispute.
- You have set unrealistic limitations on the wages, hours or days, types of work or locations of a job you will accept.
- You fail to report to the IowaWORKS Center or satisfactorily participate in reemployment services when told to do so.
- You are a school employee with either a contract or reasonable assurance of returning to work when school resumes the next academic year or term.
- You failed to return the Work Search History form when requested.
I participated in an appeal, and the administrative law judge’s decision says that I’ve been denied Iowa unemployment benefits. Now what?
Either you or your employer can appeal the administrative law judge’s decision to the Employment Appeal Board. The appeal must be postmarked within 15 calendar days from the mailing date of the administrative law judge’s decision. Appeals should be addressed to Employment Appeal Board, Lucas State Office Building, Fourth Floor, 321 East 12th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. The fax number is (515) 242-6863. If you choose to fax in your appeal, you still must send the board the original copy of the appeal. Additional contact information for the Board can be found here.
Before the appeal, all parties will receive a written transcript of the administrative law judge’s hearing and will be given an opportunity to submit a written summary of their side.
The Employment Appeal Board does not hold hearings. The board decides each case by reviewing the evidence that was presented to the administrative law judge. The board may affirm or reverse the administrative law judge’s decision or may send the case back to the administrative law judge for further review, or order a new hearing and decision if they feel the evidence in the administrative law judge’s hearing is insufficient or is incomplete. It usually takes 60 to 180 days from the date the appeal is filed to receive the Appeal Board decision.
If you disagree with the Employment Appeal Board decision, you may file a petition for judicial review in Iowa District Court or request a rehearing before the Appeal Board. The procedure and appeal deadlines are indicated on the decision.
What happens if Iowa Workforce Development agrees with my employer and denies me Iowa unemployment benefits in their decision?
You can appeal the decision of Iowa Workforce Development to an administrative law judge. It’s important to act quickly because your appeal must be postmarked within 10 calendar days after the mailing date shown on the decision. You can contact the Appeals Bureau at (515) 281-3747 or visit your local IowaWORKS Center if you are uncertain how to file an appeal or have related questions.
You should mail your appeal to Iowa Workforce Development, Appeals Bureau, 1000 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50309-0209. You can also fax it to (515) 242-5144.
Whether you or your employer appeals, a formal hearing over the telephone with an administrative law judge will be scheduled. However, you or the employer may request an in-person hearing. The hearing will be held at the IowaWORKS Center that conducts in-person hearings that is closest to the party that didn’t request the in-person hearing. These IowaWORKS Centers conduct in-person hearings.
If you receive a notice for a telephone hearing, you will be instructed to telephone the Appeals Bureau immediately to verify that you will participate and to provide the phone number where you and witnesses can be reached. It’s important to call, because you will only be called to participate if you make that call.
The appeal hearing is formal. All parties will be sworn in and the hearing will be recorded. You should dress appropriately—see here for help.
At the hearing, the administrative law judge will take statements concerning the issue even if statements were already taken at the fact-finding interview. Either party can submit additional evidence at the hearing, so it is important you participate. If you choose to be represented by an attorney you must do so at your own expense.
The administrative law judge makes an impartial decision based on the information presented at the hearing and the contents of your file. You will receive the administrative law judge’s decision in the mail in about 10 to 14 days.
Remember to keep filing your weekly-continued claims throughout the appeals process.
My employer is protesting or resisting my claim for Iowa unemployment benefits. What happens now?
Anyone who has employed you over the past eighteen months can protest your claim because they can be liable for paying you unemployment insurance benefits. Your claim will be automatically protested if you indicated in your claim that you quit or were fired from your most recent job.
“If your claim for unemployment insurance is protested, Iowa Workforce Development may arrange a fact-finding interview. You should continue to phone in your weekly-continued claims if your claim is protested.
The fact-finding interview will normally be conducted by telephone. You and the employer will receive a Notice of Unemployment Insurance Fact-Finding Interview containing the scheduled date, time, and the telephone number where you will be called for the interview. Complete instructions are provided on the notice you receive.
If you won’t be available to participate, notify Iowa Workforce Development immediately or you may lose your benefits. Follow the instructions on the notice you received to contact Iowa Workforce Development.
Within a few days of the interview, you will receive an appealable decision in the mail. Read it carefully. If it is favorable to you and there are no additional issues, your claim will be released so you can begin receiving payments. However, if the decision is later reversed on appeal, you will be required to repay the benefits you received.
How long after applying does it take to receive Iowa unemployment benefits?
If eligible, you should receive your first payment in about three weeks after you first apply for benefits if you meet all of the eligibility and monetary requirements. It takes three weeks because after your claim is initially processed, your employers of the last 18 months are notified of your claim and have ten days to protest.
If you've been injured on the job it's important to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney. Please feel free to contact us online or call us directly at 515.222.1110 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.
I’m self-employed. Can I get Iowa unemployment benefits?
Being self-employed doesn’t disqualify you from getting unemployment benefits. But you still have to meet all of the other eligibility requirements, including being able, available and actively looking for work and willing to accept suitable work. If your self-employment is keeping you from fulfilling these requirements, you will be disqualified from receiving benefits.
I have a part-time job. How will this affect my eligibility for Iowa unemployment benefits?
You can work and still be eligible for benefits, but you may receive a lower weekly benefit amount. To ensure that you don’t commit fraud, you must report the wages you earn to Iowa Workforce Development.
Use this form to keep track of your earnings. You must report the wages you earn when you earn them, not when you are paid.
Here’s how your job will affect you weekly benefit amount:
If your gross earnings for any week are equal to or exceed your weekly benefit amount plus $15, you will not receive benefits for that week.
If for a given week you earn 25% or less of your weekly benefit amount, no deduction will be made from your benefit payments. But if in a week you earn more than 25% of your weekly benefit amount, your benefit payment will be reduced by the difference between what you earned and 25% of your weekly benefit amount.
So let’s say that your weekly benefit amount is $400 and you earned $120 working part time in a given week. 25% of your weekly benefit amount is $100, and you earned $20 more than that. So you will receive $380 instead of $400 for that week.
Now let’s say your weekly benefit amount is $400 and you earned $430 working part time for a given week. Since you earned more than $415, you won’t receive any benefits for that week.
Final example: Your weekly benefit amount is $400 and you earned $414 working part time in a given week. 25% of your weekly benefit amount is $100, and you earned $314 more than that. Because 400 -314 = 86, you will receive $86 for that week.
If you've suffered an injury on the job it's important to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney. Please feel free to contact us online or call us directly at 515.222.1110 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.
I filed a claim for Iowa unemployment benefits in the past, but I haven’t been making the continuing claims in a while. I want to receive benefits again. Should I file a new claim, or can I reactivate the old one?
Claims are effective for one year, so if you filed your claim a year or more ago, you have to file a new claim.
If you filed your claim in the past year, it’s still effective and is considered an existing or open claim. If you haven’t been making the weekly continuing claims, you need to reactivate your open claim. You can reactivate online at http://www.iowaworkforce.org/ or by telephone by calling (866) 239-0843.