How to File Out of State Unemployment

The U.S. Department of Labor works directly with states to administer the Unemployment Insurance program, which provides benefits to people who become unemployed through no fault of their own. Although it's a federal program, states run the program on a local level. Whether you worked in a different state than you lived, or moved after becoming unemployed, it's possible to file out of state employment. An out of state unemployment claim is known as an interstate claim. You won't need to travel back to that state to file. You can apply online, over the phone or even at your local unemployment office.


Living in One State, Working in Another

If you lived in one state but worked in a different state, you'll need to file for unemployment benefits in the state where you worked. If you lived and worked in the same state, but then moved after becoming unemployed, you'll still need to file for benefits in the state where you worked.


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Moving Out of State

If you were working in the state where you lived and moved, you can still file for unemployment benefits because all states participate in the Interstate Reciprocal Benefit Payment Plan. You can apply for benefits in the state you moved to, but the paying state will be the state where you were employed. Before your move, notify the state where you worked, just in case there are any special procedures you'll need to follow.


Application Process

Complete the application process by calling the unemployment office in the state where you worked or going to their website to file online. You can also visit your local unemployment office and file an interstate claim in person. You'll need to provide information about yourself, including:


  • your name
  • current address
  • driver's license number
  • Social Security number

You'll be asked to provide information about your employment and former employer, such as:


  • last date you worked for any employer (If you are working part-time at another job provide that information)
  • the employer's name, address (mailing and physical) and phone number.
  • information on all employers you had within the last 18 months, including the number of hours you worked, wages earned and how you were paid.
  • the name of the employer you worked for the longest during the past 18 months. You'll need to note how long you worked for that employer.
  • the reason you are no longer working for the last employer. Be specific. If you quit, were fired or left because of a trade dispute, a phone interview may be necessary to gather more information about the nature of the issue.



If you filed at your local unemployment office, the application and information is forwarded to the state where you worked. That state will contact you directly to request any additional information or to conduct a phone interview, if necessary. Correspondence is generally through the mail. Applications take about two to three weeks to process, on average.

Rules and Regulations

Each state has its own rules and regulations pertaining to unemployment compensation. The benefit limits and duration varies among states. Although you can work in one state and apply in your home state, your benefits and eligibility are determined by the state where you worked. It's illegal to intentionally file an unemployment claim in the wrong state so you can receive a higher payment. Intentional misrepresentations are considered unemployment fraud, which can result in criminal charges.


Certifying Benefits

After you've completed the application process and receive an approval letter, you'll need to certify you're still eligible to receive payments by answering a series of questions. The certification process generally must be done on a weekly basis through the paying state. You can certify benefits online, over the phone or by mail.



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