by Christy Bieber | March 30, 2020
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Coronavirus has led to widespread job losses, but increased unemployment benefits could help you stay financially sound during the crisis.
The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on every aspect of American life. Sadly, because of social distancing measures put in place to help reduce the spread of the virus, millions of Americans have been left without jobs as companies temporarily shut their doors.
If you're one of the many who have experienced a reduction in income or who have lost their jobs due to the response to COVID-19, unemployment benefits could provide an important lifeline that helps keep money coming into your bank account so you can cover your bills.
This guide will help you understand the eligibility rules for unemployment benefits in Iowa and will walk you through the process of getting these benefits during this time of crisis.
You can qualify for unemployment benefits in Iowa if you meet the following requirements:
Iowa has announced that workers who must stay home to self-quarantine or care for a family member sick with COVID-19 are entitled to unemployment benefits as long as they meet eligibility requirements, which include working as an employee for at least six months within the last 18 months and earning at least $2,500 during that time.
You can apply online for unemployment benefits at the Iowa Workforce Development website. You will need:
The amount of your benefits is based on the number of dependents you have and the amount of your earnings during the highest quarter of your base period. The wages in the relevant quarter are divided by:
There are also maximum limits, which vary depending on the number of dependents. If you have:
When you apply, benefits can be paid for up to one year but only until you exhaust your maximum benefit amount. The maximum benefit amount equals the lesser of 26 times your weekly benefit amount or one-third of the total wages you earned during your base period. However, the CARES Act extends that period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.
If your claim is denied, you have 10 calendar days from the date listed on the decision to submit an appeal online or via mail to:
Iowa Workforce Development
1000 E Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309-0209
Your appeal needs to include the date of the decision you're appealing as well as the reference number. You should also include your name, Social Security number, and contact details as well as the name and contact information for your employer. You'll want to specify the reason for appealing and include any supporting documentation. An appeal hearing will then be conducted via phone, unless you request an in-person hearing.
If you need help, you can call (800) 532-1483, but Iowa warns that you should expect a higher-than-normal call volume due to increased claims resulting from coronavirus.
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