Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210






September 15, 1999




September 30, 2000











Unemployment Insurance Service




Interstate Claims Filed From and Against Canada


  1. Purpose. To remind States that Canada is a signatory to the Interstate Benefit Payment Plan via an executive agree-ment with the United States, and that all interstate program procedures and policies apply to claims filed from and against Canada under traditional and remote claimstaking procedures.

  2. References. Section 1137, Social Security Act; Section 3304(a)(9)(A), Internal Revenue Code; Unemployment Insurance Program Letters (UIPLs) Nos. 2-96 and 5-97; ET Handbooks Nos. 392 and 384; the Interstate Benefit Payment Plan; and the Standard Interstate Policy on Search for Work.

  3. Background. States' procedural and staff changes associated with the implementation of remote initial claimstaking and call center environments appear to have led to some service related issues due to incorrect application and understanding of unchanged existing interstate procedures and policies. It is essential that as States implement remote claimstaking they ensure that staff are given appropriate training on existing procedures, policies, rules and requirements relating to the handling of interstate agent and liable claims and responsibilities.

    We have recently been contacted by Canada's liaison with the United States concerning: 1) the refusal of a liable State to provide the Canadian liaison with a copy of a determination that had been issued to a claimant filing from Canada; 2) incorrect filing instructions being given to claimants; and 3) two recent determinations that denied benefit eligibility to individuals filing from Canada because they were not available for work in the United States.

  4. Copy of Determinations. Until the early 1980s, the agent State was issued a copy of each determination issued to an interstate claimant filing from the State. This practice was discontinued to reduce the agent State's workload associated with record maintenance since most determinations were not used by the agent State. This procedural change was not intended to imply that the agent State could not obtain a copy of any determination to assist a claimant. Upon request, the liable State should immediately provide the agent State, for any interstate claimant, with a copy of any determination requested in conjunction with carrying out its duties and functions under the Interstate Benefit Payment Plan(IBPP).

    States have extended the application of the IBPP and the State's implementing regulations to claims taken in and for Canada, thereby, extending the definition of State, agent State and liable State to include Canada for interstate benefit purposes. Hence, Canada and its Interstate Program Coordinator (IPC) is treated as any other "agent State" under the requirements and spirit of the IBPP.

  5. Availability for Work in the United States. Two recent State determinations denied benefits to individuals filing from Canada because the claimants were no longer available for work in the United States. Upon appeal, both hearing officers acknowledged that the claimants were available for and seeking work in Canada. However, only one determination was correctly reversed while the other determination was incorrectly affirmed.

    The decision affirming the denial cited State provisions for carrying out the requirements of Section 1137(d) of the Social Security Act (which require, as a condition of eligibility, that an individual be in satisfactory immigration status) as the basis for the decision. However, "satisfactory immigration status" is not an issue in claims filed from Canada because individuals filing such claims cannot be required to be available for work in the United States. Requiring an individual filing from Canada to be available for work in the United States is inconsistent with Section 3304(a)(9)(A), IRC. That provision states that a State may not deny or reduce compensation to an individual "solely because he [or she] files a claim in another State (or a contiguous country with which the United States has an agreement with respect to unemployment compensation) or because he [or she] resides in another State (or such a contiguous country) at the time he [or she] files a claim for unemployment compensation." Section 3304(a)(9)(A) was interpreted in UIPL No. 2-96 to mean that a State may not place an "unreasonable burden on an individual residing in or filing a UC claim" in an agent State because that would interfere with the protections of Section 3304(a)(9)(A). Requiring an individual residing in or filing a claim from Canada to be available for work in the United States would create an unreasonable burden, and is therefore prohibited under Section 3304(a)(9)(A).

    Such a requirement would also violate the procedures estab-lished in the States' Standard Interstate Policy on Active Search for Work, for purposes of the Interstate Benefit Payment Plan, which makes clear that interstate claimants need to be available for work only in the local labor market of the agent State.

    States should be sure that they follow proper procedures for handling claims from and against Canada to avoid creating an issue under section 3309(a)(9)(A), IRC.

  6. Claims for Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service-members (UCX). A State recently refused to accept a new claim under the UCX program, although the claimant was in the State, apparently because the claimant provided an out-of-State (Canada) mailing address. In this case, the claimant was advised to file his claim after arriving in Canada. This State's actions are inconsistent with UCX program procedures that allow a UCX claimant to file a claim in any State in which he/she is present. The State's actions are also inconsistent with the guidance provided in UIPL No. 5-97 for States implementing remote claimstaking. Additionally, a new UCX claim cannot be filed from Canada to establish a benefit year. UCX wages are assignable to the State "in which" the claim is filed and that establishes the first benefit year subsequent to the military separation; and wages can only be assigned to a "State" as defined at 20 CFR 614.2(o). UCX wages cannot be assigned to Canada. Therefore, the instructions given to this claimant were clearly incorrect and caused a hardship for the claimant.

    Further, according to information from the Department of Defense, it appears that a significant number of U.S. Servicemembers are aliens, possibly as many as four (4) percent. It is likely that some of these aliens are Canadian citizens who may need to file a claim in a State (for wage assignment purposes) before returning home after discharge from the United States Armed Services. It is important that staff understand how to correctly handle these claims, and that they do not refuse to take a UCX claim under these circumstances.

  7. Action Required. State administrators are requested to ensure that: (1) claimants filing from Canada are not denied benefits in a manner inconsistent with the requirements of Section 3304(a)(9)(A), IRC; and (2) UCX claims are accepted and processed under the State law, without regard to the mailing address of the claimant providing that the claimant is in that State at the time of filing, and that claims are taken in a manner consistent with the published procedures and guidance issued in UIPL No. 5-97.

  8. Inquiries. Direct any questions to the appropriate Regional Office.