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Where to File Unemployment ? Place of Living or Work?

Updated : March 10th, 2021

Just like most of the developed countries that hand hold its citizens by way of social security benefits for the jobless, the U.S is known to administer an efficient federal-state system that guarantees weekly unemployment benefits for those who’ve lost their job due to involuntary reasons such as layoffs. Foreseen by the U.S Department of Labor and run by each state on its own, the Unemployment Insurance(UI) program hands out up to 26 weeks of monetary compensation on the basis of wages earned in the last 4 to 5 calendar quarters(depending on the state).

The claimant who has lost their job due to no fault of their own is required to initiate the claims process by approaching the Unemployment Office(attached to the department of labor) in their state either by phone or via the internet. The filing procedure is more or less similar in all the states. After scrutiny and approval of your initial claim, continue filing on a weekly basis on designated days to ensure timely credit.


One of the most common questions our Q & A section receives is pertaining to where to file. State where the employment is based or state where the claimant lives. The answer is quite straightforward. One must be filing from the state of employment since the employer pays unemployment taxes into the state’s system where they operate. If you’re someone whose place of work and residence are different, read the following sections to help you understand how it all works.

Base Period

This is perhaps the most comprehensive and commonly used term in the world of Unemployment Compensation. Let’s understand what this means and how it impacts your eligibility to draw benefits.

  • It is 4(earliest) of the last 5 calendar quarters completed of a calendar year. For instance, if you’re applying for UI benefits in Feb 2015, the base period, in this case, will be October 1, 2013, to September 30, 2014.
  • Wages earned during this period is considered to ascertain if you qualify and also to determine WBA(Weekly Benefit Amount).
  • Those who do not have the sufficient earnings of worked hours during the base period can use the Alternate Base Period which just takes into account, last four calendar quarters only.

Interstate Claim

This term is used to denote a situation where the claimant has worked in State A through out the base period but has moved to State B to seek further employment or make a living. The claimant can go ahead and file from State A and also fulfill the eligibility criteria laid down in the state. After approval, the claimant can continue filing for benefits from the state of last employment and fulfill the requirements either until the time the benefits exhaust or they find a job.

Combined Wage claim  

This phrase is used to represent a situation where the claimant has worked in more than one state during the base period. He/she can file from any of the states where they worked and initiate a combined wage claim where the credentials are verified by all the states before being approved. Once the WBA and others aspects are determined, the claimant can continue filing for weekly benefits either over the phone or by the internet.

Commuter Claim

Some states encourage jobless workers to apply from their state if the claimant lives around the border and travels to the state of claim during the base period for employment. If the worker is looking forward to seeking jobs in that state, an interstate claim can be filed.

Nearly all states in the U.S provide Unemployment Compensation in cases as described above. Since this program is more or less a state subject, you must understand the nature of benefits before filing. The easiest way to apply and claim UC is the internet. Visit the official website of the unemployment office in your state to file and manage online in a hassle-free manner.

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  1. I lived in ga in 2019 and move to florida in 2020 and work for the xmas months in nov-dec. I was told to do a combine wage claim. my question is which state do i file the claim in?

  2. I filed for pua in Ohio back in October 2020.My claim has been in ajudacatuon since 11/1/20.So 2 to 6 weeks is a total understatement! When I call.i am told to basically hurry up and wait some more.I have recently been redetermined and my claim is allowed.but I have one pending issue.How long is too long?

    1. Nicole,

      Unfortunately, nobody has an answer. There are perhaps thousands of pending applications. Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

  3. If you claim your weeks for unemployment and for the next 2 months you still have not received your money. Where can you go in volusia county to talk with a live person

  4. On NYS DOL website, my claim is saying current yet the information is for my old claim with 0 days remaining despite receiving 2 weeks of payments on the new claim and I was able to certify last night. I haven’t received anything; no letters or emails.

  5. I was disqualified for UI benefits for not providing an ID and other forms of identification. How do I fix this?

    1. Hi Mike, I’m in NYS and was at the end of my BYE on 3/14, I was still certifying but wasn’t getting paid. I found out I had to file a new claim because my other was exhausted. I’m still waiting on approval. Maybe you have to file a new claim. I hope this helps.

  6. They say 2-6 weeks it’s more accurate to say 2-6 months; and when you call many of them are rude and unwilling to assist!

  7. someone needs to look into Sharon L. Anton gillette, wyo. or dickinson, nd she is a fraud and has done so many fraudulent things and please look into her

    1. Annette,

      Please report it to the Fraud Division of the Unemployment Office in your state. You can report on the website.

  8. I worked part time for thee years here in florida. I’m currently not working. I’m also retired and collects social security.
    My question is
    Am I qualified to file for unemployment ?

    1. Ruby,

      To be eligible, you’re required to have sufficient hours and earnings. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

  9. So adjudication takes 8 to 12 weeks. Oh okay, that explains why I havent received payment since July. That surely helps just like the rest of the information that you give. And by the way. What’s the NEW reason you can’t get through to the Call Center.

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