Can you Collect Unemployment if you Move Out of State?

Yes If you wish to move to another state, the answer is unequivocally – yes.    There is no requirement you live in the state responsible for paying your benefits – either while collecting or when you apply.  If you are already collecting, notify the state paying your benefits of your new address and continue to claim through that state’s website as normal after you’ve moved.   

No – If you are planning to quit for the sole purpose of moving – then, no, unless your quit falls under one of the good cause reasons in your state – “trailing spouse” being the most common – wherein your spouse is moving because of job transfer or to take a new job.  However, not all states legislate trailing spouse benefits.   Of those that do, 22 states pay trailing spouse benefits with moderate restriction under the foregoing circumstances; another 22 states pay for military moves only.  The remaining 7 states have no provision for a trailing spouse benefit.

Of special note:

California:  If you are lucky enough to live in CA, there is no restriction placed on why your spouse is moving – whereas most states require it be a job transfer/opportunity.  CA recognizes spousal reconciliation, family reunification, and even  “imminent marriage.”  So, if your fiance moves for whatever reason and your marriage is very soon, you are eligible for benefits if you quit your job to join her.


Your unemployment claim will be subject to the state law where you worked, not the place where you live.  Out-of-state unemployment claims can be filed via telephone, online through the state paying your benefits.   Your state of residence is irrelevant to this process.

The following states offer “trailing spouse” benefits:

  1. Arkansas (any job transfer)
  2. Arizona – (compelling personal reason)
  3. Arkansas – (impractical commute)
  4. California (includes Registered Domestic Partners)
  5. Colorado (any job transfer)
  6. Connecticut (impractical commute)
  7. Delaware (any job transfer)
  8. District of Columbia (any job transfer)
  9. Florida (military transfer only)
  10. Georgia (military transfer only)
  11. Hawaii (any job transfer)
  12. Illinois (any job transfer)
  13. Indiana (any job transfer)
  14. Iowa (military transfer only)
  15. Kansas (any job transfer)
  16. Kentucky (military transfer only)
  17. Louisiana (any job transfer)
  18. Maine (any job transfer);
  19. Maryland (military transfer only)
  20. Massachusetts (military only)
  21. Michigan (military transfer only)
  22. Minnesota (any job transfer)
  23. Missouri (military transfer only)
  24. Mississippi – (military transfer only)
  25. Montana (military transfer only)
  26. Nebraska (any job transfer)
  27. Nevada (military transfer only)
  28. New Hampshire (any job transfer)
  29. New Jersey (military transfer only)
  30. New Mexico (military transfer only)
  31. New York (any job transfer)
  32. North Carolina (military transfer only)
  33. Oklahoma (any job transfer)
  34. Oregon (any job transfer)
  35. Rhode Island (any job transfer)
  36. South Carolina – compelling family circumstances (trailing spouse)/military transfer
  37. South Dakota (military transfer only)
  38. Tennessee (military transfer only)
  39. Texas (military transfer only)
  40. Virginia (military transfer only)
  41. Virgin Islands (any job transfer)
  42. Washington (any job transfer)
  43. Wisconsin (active duty military only)
  44. Wyoming (military transfer only)

You were fired and you moved out of state

Now let’s look at your unique situation. The focus here will be the fact that you were fired. Since all states are members of the Interstate Reciprocal Benefit Payment Plan, it doesn’t matter if you move out of state, as long as you qualify for the benefits under state law (the state you moved from), you’ll receive your checks.

In order to receive unemployment benefits after being fired and moving, the fired part must meet the conditions we described in section No. 1, which is to say that you were fired because of cutbacks, because you didn’t fit the job role, or for minor misconduct.

Qualifying Case

An example case of an employee qualified to receive unemployment benefits after being fired and moving out of state would be the following:

Your company was acquired by a bigger entity and your position no longer fulfills a new manager’s vision, so you were let go. You’ve been trying to find a new job, but haven’t had any luck, so you move out of state to up your opportunities. In this case, you can apply for unemployment benefits from the state you were let go from and will qualify because you were fired through no fault of your own and while an interstate claim will take a little longer, you still qualify under federal law for at least 26 weeks of unemployment benefits.

References

-“State Unemployment Insurance Benefits.” , Employment & Training Administration (ETA). <http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/uifactsheet.asp>.
-“Voluntary Quit VQ 235.” – Health and Safety Considerations. <http://www.edd.ca.gov/uibdg/Voluntary_Quit_VQ_235.htm>