How Can I Apply For Unemployment Benefits?

You may file an initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits using one of four methods:

  1. Online ­ CLICK HERE
  2. By visiting the nearest Workforce Development Center and participating in an initial­claim group session;
  3. By calling the Unemployment Insurance Service Center at (877) 891­5344 (toll­free outside the Des Moines area) or 281­4199 (in the Des Moines calling area), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Central Standard Time.; or
  4. Through your most recent employer.

When you file your initial claim, you'll need to have the following information handy:

  • Your Social Security number;
  • The name, address and telephone number of your most recent employer, and the beginning and ending dates you worked for that employer;
  • An Alien Registration number, if you are not a U.S. citizen;
  • A DD­214 (Member 4), if you served in the U.S. military during the last 18 months;
  • An SF­8 form, if you worked for the federal government in the last 18 months;
  • The name(s) of anyone you will be claiming as a dependent, up to a maximum of four; and
  • The amount your spouse earned in the preceding week, if you want to claim your spouse as a dependent (must be $120 or less to be claimed).

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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