Unemployment Benefits after Moving out of State

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If you lose your job, unemployment insurance benefits can offer a limited amount of financial assistance until you can find new work. Each state administers its own unemployment insurance benefits program in association with the U.S. Department of Labor. If you move to a new state after losing a job, you can typically file an unemployment benefits claim in your new state of residence.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

The unemployment insurance benefits program operates as a joint endeavor between the U.S. Department of Labor and the states. The program only offers benefits to workers who are unemployed “through no fault of their own,” which each state defines through its laws. States typically base your eligibility on wage and work time criteria from a specific time period during your previous employment. For that reason, you must apply for benefits in a timely manner after losing a job, or you may lose your eligibility. The majority of states fund unemployment benefits through taxes levied on employers. For that reason, you must typically file a claim against an unemployment insurance program in a state where you previously worked.

Interstate Claims

The unemployment insurance benefits program typically allows you to file a claim against the state where you previously worked if you move to a new state. In the majority of cases, you can file an interstate claim at the state employment security office where you now live. For example, if you lived and worked in Tennessee but moved to California after losing your job, you can file an unemployment insurance benefits claim with the California Employment Development Department against the Tennessee unemployment program. However, you must meet Tennessee benefits requirements even though you are filing in California. If you file a claim in one state and then move to another state, you can typically transfer your case to the employment security office in your new state and continue to receive benefits.

Combined Wage Claim

If you worked in more than one state during an 18 month to 2 year period you may file a combined wage claim, which may enable you to receive a higher benefit by combining your earnings from all of your jobs. However, you can only file a combined wage claim in a state where you actually worked. For example, if you lived and worked in Nevada and Utah over the course of two years, you can only file a combined wage claim in Utah or Nevada.

Filing Options

Filing an unemployment insurance benefits claim can vary, depending on the state in which you file. For example, the state of California allows you to file a claim online, over the phone, or by fax or mail. If you file a claim in the state of Washington, you can file over the phone or online. You must follow the filing procedures of the state in which you apply, even if you file a claim against another state.

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