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Can You File for Unemployment Benefits in Two Different Places?

by Kristin Swain

Filing for unemployment compensation can feel overwhelming because there is a lot of paperwork and possible interviews with unemployment case workers. To complicate matters further, the regulations vary by state. If you've moved after being unemployed or have worked in one state and lived in another, whether or not you can file for unemployment in two places depends on your situation and the regulations in each state.

Moving

If you're planning on moving after losing a job because you have family in another state or because there might be a less competitive job market, you should file for unemployment before you move out of state. Your unemployment claim should be made in your current state of residency. If you choose to move out of state after filing a claim, notify the local unemployment agency so that a representative can advise you of your next steps. Moving out of state does not automatically disqualify you for benefits from your current state of residence.

Two Jobs, Two States

An uncommon issue arises when you have two jobs in two different states and lose both of them at or around the same time. Unemployment benefits are generally determined using your total income from all jobs held in the last year before unemployment. Depending on the regulations of both states, you may be required to file a separate unemployment claim with each state to access the full amount of your benefits, or you may only have to file one claim with a single state. One or both of your claims could be considered an out-of-state or interstate claim.

Previous Employer's Location

Your previous employer's location is very important when determining your eligibility for unemployment benefits and what state the benefits come from. Even if your employer's headquarters are in a different state from where you worked, you are only eligible to receive benefits from the state where you actually worked -- you cannot file for benefits from two different states. Your previous employer pays unemployment taxes to each state where the company has a location. To be eligible to receive benefits, you must file for them in the state where you were an employee.

Interstate Claims

When you and your former employer are located in different states, you have two options, depending on the regulations of the two states. One of the options is to file an interstate claim. This claim is overseen by two different unemployment agencies, without you having to file separate claims in two different states. Your unemployment benefits come from the state where your previous employer is located in, or from both states if you worked in multiple states, but you receive local oversight of your claim from the state where you live. When you file for an interstate claim, make sure that it is allowed by both states. Otherwise you have to file in one state and then register with the local unemployment agency in your state of residency.

About the Author

Residing in Los Angeles, Kristin Swain has been a professional writer since 2008. Her experience includes finance, travel, marketing and television. Swain holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Georgia State University.

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