Can I File for Unemployment in Two States If I Worked in Both?

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It can be difficult navigating the differences between states' unemployment laws – or even to understand the requirements you must meet to maintain your eligibility. Although many areas concerning unemployment insurance claims can be confusing, determining where to file your initial claim isn't so difficult, even when you worked jobs in different states. File one claim in the state in which you reside – even if it's not either of the states in which you worked – and your state's department of labor will sort out the overlapping claims.

Employment in Multiple States

When you qualify to receive benefits from more than one state's unemployment insurance division – such as when you were employed in more than one state or worked out of state – rather than filing multiple partial claims in each state, you should file a single initial claim in the unemployment office closest to your home, or in the state in which you reside.

Your home state will act as the paying state, and administer all benefits for which you're eligible. It will collect funds from the second state in order to pay your claim.

Maintaining Eligibility for Benefits

When you apply for unemployment insurance benefits in your home state and it administers another state's partial claim, you're only required to meet the requirements to receive benefits in the state that pays your claims. Because of this, you won't need to make additional claims in another state or manage multiple weekly claims to both states.

Because the U.S. Department of Labor oversees all states' unemployment insurance programs, eligibility requirements are likely to be largely the same between the states.

Another State's Unemployment Benefits

A small handful of states, such as Texas, allow workers with in-state wages to apply for unemployment benefits even if they don't live in the state. If one of the states in which you work allows out-of-state beneficiaries to qualify for unemployment benefits based on previous work experience, consider both states' continuing eligibility requirements, maximum benefit amount and formula to determine weekly payment amounts.

In some cases, you may receive a better benefits package to apply as a non-resident if you qualify in another state.

Simultaneous Unemployment Claims

When you file your initial unemployment claim, the unemployment office requests wage history for up to the last 18 months from your employers, and it turns to the other state's employment agency with a request for funding for its portion of the claim. If you simultaneously file unemployment claims in two states, the requests for funds will alert each office that you've filed claims in two states. Depending upon the laws of your state, this may disqualify you from eligibility, or penalize you by reducing your benefits.

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