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Unemployment provides benefits when a person becomes unemployed through no fault of their own. If a person is unemployed or working substantially fewer hours and has worked in any position covered by unemployment insurance in the last 15-18 months and was paid wages, he/she is covered by unemployment compensation. Unemployment Compensation is covered in Iowa Code Chapter 96 (Employment Security Act), and hearings are covered under Chapter 17A (Administrative Procedures Act).. Unemployment pays temporary benefits for people who are unemployed or working reduced hours through no fault of their own, are able to work and available for work, and are actively looking for work (unless waived). Failure to register for work can result in denial of benefits.
Benefits can be denied if:
1. You quit your job without good cause attributable to your employer. Causes for disqualification and good cause are covered under Iowa Code 96.5. A military spouse who quits due to transfer is reviewed on a case by case basis.
2. Were discharged or suspended for misconduct in connection with your job
3. Refused suitable work with an employer or recall to suitable work by your former employer
4. Are not able to work, not available to work or not actively seeking work as required.
5. Unemployed due to a strike or labor dispute
6. Have set unrealistic limitations on wages, hours, or days, types of work or locations of job you will accept.
7. Failure to report to Workforce Development Center or satisfactorily participate in reemployment services
8. Are school employee with either a contract or reasonable assurance of returning to work when school resumes next academic year
9. Failure to return Work Search History form when requested.
All employers you have had for the last 18 months can be potentially liable for unemployment benefits, so they can be eligible to protest the payment of a claim. If you quit or were fired from the most recent job, your claim is automatically protested. If the claim is protested, a fact-finding interview will normally be conducted by telephone. A notice of the Interview is sent to you and the employer and includes instructions on where and when you are called for the interview. After the interview, an appealable decision is sent via mail. (A decision later reversed on appeal, requires repayment of benefits). You should continue to file weekly claims for benefits while appealing.
If you or the employer disagree with the interview decision, either party can appeal and present testimony to an administrative law judge. An appeal must be postmarked within 10 calendar days after the mailing date of the decision. The appeal should be sent to: Iowa Workforce Development Appeals Bureau, 1000 East Grand Ave, Des Moines 50309-0209, or fax to: 515-242-5144. If no appeal, the decision become final. The written appeal should include:
1. name, address, social security number of the claimant
2. date of the unemployment insurance decision
3. fact that an appeal from such a decision is being made
4. the grounds for the appeal; and
5. your preference as to how the hearing will be held, by telephone or in person. A decision as to how the hearing will be conducted will be based on the preference and practicality considering the difference between the parties.
An appeal leads to a formal hearing over the telephone with an administrative law judge, but an in-person hearing can be requested. The person requesting an in-person hearing must travel to the Workforce Development Center closest to the other party. If the hearing is to be a telephone hearing, you must telephone the Appeals Bureau immediately to verify that you will participate and to leave the phone number where you and witnesses can be reached. Failure to telephone will result in nonparticipation of the hearing and the judge will make his/her decision based on the available evidence. The judge will not call you unless you call prior to the hearing to obtain your confirmation and to give your phone number. This is a formal hearing, on the record, with sworn statements. Attorneys can be hired, but at the participant’s expense. Documentary evidence must be sent to the Appeals bureau at the following address: Iowa Workforce Development, Unemployment Insurance Appeals Bureau, 1000 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50319-0209, fax: 515-242-5144. The bureau mails copies to the opposing party for review prior to the hearing. Information submitted for the fact-finding interview is not automatically part of the record for the appeal hearing. You must either resend the information or call the bureau to ensure that it is included. Witnesses with first hand knowledge can testify at the hearing, but you must notify them of the date and time of the hearing and arrange for them to be available or receive a call. If a witness refuses to participate or the opposing party refuses to provide a document to you for the hearing, you can use a subpoena by sending a request to the Subpoena Clerk at the above address. A request for a subpoena must be submitted at least 5 days before the hearing and the request must state: why the witness or document is important to the case, the witness refuses to testify or the opposing party refuses to provide a copy voluntarily, and the name and home address of the witness or description of the document. A hearing may be postponed for an emergency or similar good cause and should be requested at least 3 days before the hearing. You should continue filing weekly claims for benefits while the appeal is pending, as you will only be paid for valid weekly claims and otherwise eligible for benefits. The judge’s decision is mailed within 10-14 days.
The administrative law judge’s decision can be appealed to the Employment Appeal Board. This appeal must be postmarked within 15 days from the mailing date of the administrative law judge’s decision. All parties receive a written transcript of cassette tape of the administrative law judge’s hearing and have the opportunity to submit a written summary of their position. The Board reviews the evidence (without a formal hearing) and may affirm or reverse the administrative law judge’s decision or may send the case back to the judge for a new hearing. This usually takes 60-180 days from the date the appeal is filed to the Board.
The Appeal Board decision can be reviewed by a petition for judicial review in an Iowa District Court or request a rehearing before the Appeal Board.
Unemployment Compensation website