Unemployment Insurance Appeals

First-Level Appeal: Administrative Law Judge 

Both the employer and the claimant have the right to appeal a fact-finding unemployment insurance (UI) decision and present testimony to an administrative law judge (ALJ).  Unlike the fact-finding interview, an appeal hearing is a formal process where all parties are sworn in and the hearing is recorded. The appeal must be postmarked or received within 10 calendar days from the date stated on the decision. If the 10th day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday then the appeal period is extended to the next working day. 

Proceedings before the UI Appeals Bureau are open to the public and documents submitted are public records. This means that the public has access to the hearings, decisions, exhibits, transcripts and recordings without prior notice. UI Appeals Decisions are posted online and are matters of public record.

Appeal hearings are conducted by telephone conference call unless a written request for an in-person hearing is received. The party requesting the in-person hearing must travel to the IowaWORKS Center closest to the other party.  In-person hearings may delay both the scheduled hearing and decision.  There are 15 IowaWORKS Centers where in-person hearings are held.

How to File a First-Level Appeal

An appeal can be filed online or by completing the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Form and mailing it, along with any correspondence or exhibits, to:

Iowa Workforce Development
Appeals Bureau 
1000 E Grand Avenue 
Des Moines, IA 50319-0209 

Written appeals should include: 

  • date of UI decision and reference number on the decision
  • claimant's name, address and social security number 
  • employer's name, address and account number
  • statement that the claimant or employer is appealing the decision 
  • reason for appealing 
  • if an interpreter is needed, and if so, the language required

​For assistance with filing an appeal or general appeal questions, contact the Appeals Bureau:

Toll-free in Iowa: 800-532-1483
Toll-free outside of Iowa: 800-247-5205 
Des Moines local: 515-281-3747 
Fax: 515-478-3528
Email: uiappealshelp@iwd.iowa.gov 

What to Expect from the Hearing

Once a claim is appealed, a formal hearing will be scheduled with an ALJ. A notice for a telephone hearing requires the parties to immediately register their telephone number and confirm participation in the hearing along with contact information for any witnesses.  The notice will contain complete instructions to register a telephone number for a scheduled hearing or for using a toll-free number listed on the notice and to confirm participation in the hearing.  

Warning: If a current telephone number is not provided to the Appeals Bureau prior to the scheduled hearing, the ALJ will not contact or include you in the hearing.

If you are unable to participate in the appeal hearing as scheduled, please submit a written request to postpone the hearing to the Appeals Bureau at least three days prior to the scheduled hearing.  Written submissions may be made via fax, email, or regular mail. The appeal hearing will be postponed only for good cause. The request for a postponement should be made at least three days before the hearing. 

Unlike the fact-finding interview, an appeal hearing is a formal process where all parties and witnesses are sworn in and the hearing is recorded. The ALJ will take new statements concerning the issue even if a statement was already given at the fact-finding interview. Either party may submit additional evidence at the hearing, so participation is important. If a claimant or employer chooses to hire an attorney to attend the hearing, the claimant or employer will be responsible to pay the full expenses of the attorney.

The ALJ's final decision will be mailed to the parties within 14 days after the hearing. The decision will state the important facts of the case, the legal conclusions and reasons for the decision and an order stating the result of the decision. The decision may disqualify the claimant from receiving UI benefits or may allow the claimant UI benefits that may be chargeable to the employer. 

Second-Level Appeal: Employment Appeal Board

If either the employer or claimant disagree with the ALJ’s decision, it may be appealed to the Employment Appeal Board (EAB). The EAB is part of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals located in the Lucas State Office Building.

How to File a Second-Level Appeal

The appeal must be postmarked within 15 calendar days from the mailing date of the ALJ’s decision. The appeal should be sent to:

Employment Appeal Board
Lucas State Office Building
Fourth Floor
Des Moines, Iowa 50319 

All parties will receive a CD of the ALJ’s hearing recording and will be given an opportunity to submit a written summary of their side.  The EAB does not hold hearings. The board decides each case by reviewing all the evidence that was presented to the ALJ. The board may: 

  • affirm or reverse the ALJ’s decision 
  • send the case back to the ALJ for further review 
  • order a new hearing and decision if the evidence in the ALJ’s hearing is not sufficient or incomplete 

It usually takes 45 to 75 days from the date the appeal is filed to receive the EAB decision. If an employer or claimant disagrees with the EAB decision, a petition may be filed for judicial review in Iowa District Court or request a rehearing before the EAB. The procedure and appeal deadlines are provided on the EAB decision.