Q: I lost my job a few months ago, in the fall of 2021. I have been looking for a new job for several weeks. Winter is not my friend. I want to move to another state with warmer weather and no snow. I am afraid that I will lose my unemployment benefits. Can I collect unemployment compensation if I leave the state of Massachusetts? How does this work?
A: The Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) uses very specific criteria to determine eligibility for unemployment compensation. Weekly benefits may be affected if a claimant is not actively looking for work, a claimant becomes self-employed or a claimant applies for unemployment compensation from any other state or federal program.
If you re-locate out of state, you must contact your new state’s unemployment office and explain that you have moved from Massachusetts. Your unemployment compensation claim will still be subject to the same requirements as when you were a resident of Massachusetts. This type of claim is called an “interstate” claim. There is a dedicated telephone number at the DUA for interstate claims. This number is (617) 626-6140. You can also visit the DUA website at www.mass.gov/dua.
Before you make a move to another state, it might be wise to research the employment opportunities of that area. Each state has their own website which provides information on state unemployment rates, and the like. The current unemployment rate in Massachusetts is just over 5%, while other states range from rates around 3% to rates around 7%. As you may expect, there are also industry variations between states.
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.