Can I Get Unemployment If I Relocate?

Relocating while collecting unemployment is more common than most claimants think. If you relocate out of the country, your unemployment claim is closed. On the other hand, if you relocate within the same state, you usually don’t have to do anything more than update your contact information with your state’s labor office. The only relocation that requires additional claims is an interstate move. Interstate moves require interstate unemployment claims.

Relocation before Job Separation

Where you relocate plays a part in whether you can get unemployment benefits. If the reason for your job separation is your relocation, your eligibility depends on the state in question. Most states don’t allow you to collect benefits when you voluntarily leave a job without a cause attributable to the employer. A notable exception is moving to follow a spouse in the military because a number of states consider that an exception. The best way to determine if a relocation that leads to job separation will disqualify you from benefits is to contact your state’s labor office (see Resources).

Relocation after Job Separation

On the other hand, relocating after becoming unemployed is common. You could decide to move closer to relatives who can help you with living expenses or seek new job markets in other states. In these cases, a permanent relocation requires an interstate unemployment claim. This type of claim is necessary when you worked in one state but currently live in another. The two states work together on your unemployment claim.

Agent State vs. Liable State

In an interstate unemployment claim, the agent state is the one you current live in and the liable state is the state where you completed the work. The agent state receives your initial claim and your weekly claims certifications. It also performs audits of your account and verifies your active job search. The liable state is the one that received the unemployment taxes from your former employer, so it’s the one that funds your unemployment payments. It’s also the state that determines your eligibility requirements and the amount of your compensation.

How to File an Interstate Claim

The process to file an interstate claim depends on the agent state’s regulations, so the first thing to do is to contact that state’s labor office. Usually, the interstate claims application is slightly different from the regular application. Some states require it be done on paper and mailed in, while others direct you to complete it with a live claims agent either over the phone or in person. The interstate claims process takes a little longer than a regular claim, too, because it depends on the actions of two states.