Can I Collect Unemployment If I Relocate?

Collecting Unemployment If You Move or Relocate

A Blogging4Jobs reader asked, “I was just laid off on 4/8. I live in Texas and if I can would like to find a job here. If by the end of May I do not have any success, I would like to relocate to California as my children live there (I am divorced).  My question is, can I relocate and collect unemployment there until I find a job?”

Job seekers often consider all their options when looking for employment after being displaced.  Sometimes we as job seekers are re-evaluating our priorities and choose to relocate for personal reasons and other times job seekers are moving to regions and cities where the employment picture is most more pleasant.  Whatever the reason, this question is not unusual and is certainly one worth addressing with a blog post.

Yes, You Can Collect Unemployment If You Move or Relocate

The answer is yes, you can relocate and continue to collect unemployment.  State requirements vary, however, so it is extremely important to visit your new local employment office as soon as possible and let them know you wish to transfer your unemployment benefits.  The internet is also extremely helpful as well, and I recommend that you visit the current state where you collect UI as well as the new state you are relocating to.  For example, if you are relocating to Alaska, you can visit their FAQ section of their website to learn about UI benefits in Alaska if you have relocated.

Most states will need time to re-evaluate your unemployment benefits upon relocation which is one of the reasons why it is so very important to do your homework prior to renting and packing the U-Haul.  I also recommend that you have some money socked away to cover expenses while the state processes your UI transfer request.  Just like when you initially file for unemployment and prior to its approval, you may go a period of several weeks without payment.  It’s important to prepare for that possibility on the front end versus the back.  This makes your move and transition much more pleasant.

One of my most popular blog posts on this site is from November 2008 where I list the Weekly Maximum Unemployment Benefits by State.  Visit your state’s unemployment benefits page to obtain the most up to date weekly unemployment benefits information.  Most websites also provide you information about the UI claim’s process including the ability to file UI online, by phone, and the review process and unemployment hearing.  Having an understanding of the entire process is important in order to plan, protect, and prepare you and your family as you start this new chapter.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Tammy Colson says

    When I moved to NC in 2008 following my layoff in VA, I was surprised to learn that I was still going to be filing in VA. (I had not filed before I moved because of severance) So, my best advice so as not to cause a delay is to check with the state of TX if you are considering moving. Texas will be the “home” for your unemployment because that’s where your company paid into the system on your behalf, even if you work for a company that has locations in the other state (like I did) They may or may not transfer the payments to CA under a reciprocation agreement.

    Hope my experience helps prevent some delays for your reader.

    • blogging4jobs says

      Good advice, Tammy. It’s funny how each state is different. Not only does Texas has the best and most cities within the top 10 in which to work according to Forbes, but it also has a less painful process to relocate and collect unemployment.

      I guess it’s safe to say the job market is bigger and friendlier in Texas?



  2. Brenda says


    Do you have any information on military relocations (and unemployment compensation) for spouses?

    • blogging4jobs says


      Military relocations are the same way. You will need to visit your new employment office as soon as you arrive at your new destination and bring your military papers with you. As long as you do this and can prove you were relocated because of a spouse’s work, you should be able to receive unemployment benefits in your new state.

      Good luck, Brenda!



  3. Kim says

    Hi there,
    I am actually interested in relocating myself however, I am being pulled in different direction regarding “collecting unemployment”. I currently reside in Chicago, but am looking forward in moving to Tampa. I wanted to give my two weeks notice instead of being laid off or fired. Would i still have the opportunity to collect unemployment because i am relocating and not because i got fired or laid off? (If that makes any sense at all) Or does this only apply if i were to get laid off or fired. Please advise sooner then later. Thank you

    • blogging4jobs says


      This would depend on both states. I would advise you to check with each of them. One of the questions they will ask you is if you are relocating for a new position, as in you already have one or a spouse and you are relocating for that reason.



  4. tammy says

    I have a great job in ST.Louis MO but my husband had to relocate to oklahoma in order to be safe in his job.our daughter will be graduating in 2011 then i will be with him my question is will i be able to get unemployment if i can’t find a job right away

  5. Kevin says

    Similar to Tammy, my wife accepted a job with her current employer in Alaska (from Indiana) and a higher salary. Obviously I have to find a new job up there but can I collect unemployment benefits until I do?

  6. Jennifer says

    My husband has been collecting UI Benefit in Texas and we want to return home to California. What is the best way for us to proceed so that we can continue to collect his benefit?

  7. Valencia Smith says

    My husband and I live in Illinois and My husband has excepted a job in Georgia. I just want to know that once we relocate will I be able to file for unemployment benefits. Thank you.

  8. Brent Johnson says

    @Valencia Smith, I in the same boat as you, but I just left Georgia and just relocated to Illinois cause my wife has a new job up here. I’m trying to find the same answer out, if u do before me please let me know.

  9. Linn says

    If I’m receiving unemployment benefits in Illinois and I move to Arizona, does the unemployment benefits transfer to Arizona or does it stay in Illinois? I’m told Arizona pays less in unemployment insurance but am moving to be with family.

    • Victoria says

      Linn, I am doing the same thing. I checked with IDES and you continue to collect from the State where you worked and became unemployed. Since you are collecting from Illinois, you continue to collect from IL, even tho you move to AZ. You just need to let you local IDES office know of your new address.
      AZ does pay much less than IL, but you are collecting from IL so AZ will not be involved.
      That’s the assurance I’ve gotten from everyone at IDES.

      • Michele says

        My husband and I are relocating from Illnois to Arizona. He will be working up until about 1 week before we leave. Should he sign up for unemployment benefits before we leave?

  10. Smith says

    Would a military spouse relocate oversea be eligible to recieve unemployement , if he had worked in state of CA?

  11. Jean says

    Both mine and my husbands jobs will be ending here in alaska. My husbands mother is handicap and his father has cancer. If we return back home to cali. to be closer to them and assist in this awful tragedy, do we qualify for unemployment. We both have worked in the past in cali. for over 20 years there?
    Thank you in advance!

  12. Mary says

    I work overseas and my contract will be ending soon. I want to move back home because there are better job opportunities and the houses are affordable in the U.S. Would I be able to apply for unemployment while I look for a job over there?

  13. kathy says

    I want to move from Alaska to Idaho… how long does it take to have my unemployment transferred usually???

  14. Help says

    I will relocate Georgia with the next 2 weeks. To start a new life, ill I beale collect unemployment?

  15. Mario Marquez says

    I filed for unemployment in Oklahoma. I’m thinking bout moving to Arizona. Can I still collect unemployment in that state

  16. Tammy says

    If I’m having financial problems and choose to relocate to another state can unemployment certify a relocation stipend if I have. Job transfer?

  17. Jessica says

    Jessica, I current
    Live in Ca. My 2 toddlers,husband, and I plan to relocate to FL to establish a home as we can not financially do that here. If I leave my job to relocate due to lower cost of living and hopes to raise a stable living, am I able to receive any benefits? I believe Fl only acknowledges military transfers benefits. Thank you in advance

  18. Liz says

    I quit my job in Pa by giving notice, my employer at the time and was aware.
    I left for another job in another city still in PA. I then quit my new job after 2 months by notifing my employer of resignation due to the witk environment and I then relocated back to my original home.i moved back to my home town because it just did not work out and commuting would be been too much.
    I am very actively looking for,work but am having trouble securing a job, ive,been on interviews etc.

  19. says

    You may or may not qualify to receive unemployment benefits if you quit your job and moved to another city. The determination of whether you can receive unemployment benefits depends on the circumstances under which you separated from your previous place of employment. Generally, if you voluntarily quit your job, you may not receive unemployment benefits. There are, however, exceptions to that rule.

  20. Pamelia Curcio says

    I will be laid off in November due to company relocating position. I currently live in Florida, but am in the middle of a divorce and will be moving to our small paid off place in Georgia. Where would I apply? I will receive 11 weeks of severance and plan do move during this period.


  21. Pam says

    Can I collect unemployment if I voluntarily leave a job is Arizona to go live with my parents I. California as they are getting older and need help with day to day tasks. I may be able to transfer to Cailfo Noa but it will be on a commission only basis. Can I collect until I get paid for my first sale in California ?

  22. Larry Goldberg says

    My wife will be accepting a new job in South Carolina so we will be relocating there from Massachusetts. If I voluntarily leave my job to go with her, can I collect unemployment benefits from Massachusetts till I find a job in South Carolina?

  23. Shawn says

    I am tryin to find out if I can collect ui if I put in my notice so I can move from Wi. To i can be closer to my children any advice would be greatly appreciated


  1. […] by Jessica Miller-Merrell on November 21, 2008 A look at the maximum weekly unemployment benefits available in each state.  Be advised, this data and post is from 2011.  I recommendyou check with your local and state unemployment office.  Check out more information about collecting unemployment when relocating. […]

  2. […] Can I Collect Unemployment If I Relocate … – … can I relocate and collect unemployment there until I … and a higher salary. Obviously I have to find a new job up there but can I collect unemployment benefits until I do … I in the same boat as you, but I just left Georgia and just relocated to Illinois cause my wife has a new … […]


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