Each state makes its own rules for paying unemployment benefits. If you live in one state and worked in another, you may wonder in which state you should file for benefits. You might think you'd be better off filing in the state that paid the highest benefit, but you don't get that choice. You must file in the state where you worked, regardless of where you live.
You need to file unemployment in the state where you worked before you were laid off, no matter where you live now. If you live in one state and worked in another, you can file for your benefits online or over the telephone. You'll still need to meet the weekly requirements to look for work and be available for work, and you must report any income earned each week from odd jobs or part-time work.
More Than One State
The amount of your unemployment benefits will be based on the wages you earned in the previous year to 18 months, depending on the state's unemployment rules. If you worked in more than one state during that time period, you must file in one of those states to collect unemployment. But in this case, you get to choose the state in which you file and you can choose the state with the highest benefits. The state may review only the income you earned in that state, or may look at your work history in other states as well in order to determine your benefit. But again, where you live doesn't matter. You file in the state where you worked.
Information You Need
Before you sit down to file for unemployment, gather information about your former employer or employers, such as the address and telephone number for the company, how much you made working for them and personal information, including your address and telephone number. You need the date you last worked. In order to avoid delay in receiving your payment, you should file for unemployment as soon as possible after you lose your job.
Looking For Work
In order to qualify for unemployment benefits, you must look for work every week, and be available to work if you receive a reasonable job offer in your field. If you're collected unemployment in one state and have moved to another, you can look for work in your new home state. You're also free to apply for jobs in the state in which you collect unemployment, and in any other state. Where you look for work isn't as important as continuing to apply for jobs and being ready if you are hired. So you can only apply for jobs out of state if you realistically intend to take a job if offered.