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Policy Basics: How Many Weeks of Unemployment Compensation Are Available?

UPDATED
July 27, 2015

The unemployment insurance (UI) system helps many people who have lost their jobs by temporarily replacing part of their wages.  (See “Introduction to Unemployment Insurance.”)  Workers in most states are eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits from the regular state-funded unemployment compensation program, although eight states provide fewer weeks and two provide more. No additional weeks of federal benefits are available in any state: the temporary Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program expired at the end of 2013, and no state currently qualifies to offer more weeks under the permanent Extended Benefits (EB) program.

The map below shows the maximum number of weeks of benefits currently available in each state.

 

 

Of the states not providing the standard 26-week maximum:

  • Massachusetts provides up to 30 weeks of UI in the absence of a federal emergency unemployment compensation program.  When a federal program is in place, Massachusetts provides the usual maximum of 26 weeks;

  • Montana provides up to 28 weeks of UI;

  • Arkansas provides up to 25 weeks of UI; and

  • Michigan, Missouri, and South Carolina provide up to 20 weeks of UI.

The remaining four states periodically update their maximum weeks of UI available based on changes in the state’s unemployment rate:

  • Kansas currently provides up to 16 weeks of UI;
  • Florida currently provides up to 14 weeks of UI;
  • Georgia provides up to 14 weeks of UI for new claimants after July 1, 2015 (the previous maximum was 17 weeks); and
  • North Carolina provides up to 12 weeks of UI for new claimants after July 1, 2015 (the previous maximum was 15 weeks).

The table below shows the latest three-month average unemployment rate for each state over March-May 2015, as well as the maximum number of weeks of UI benefits currently available in each state through regular UI.

TABLE 1
Unemployment Rates and Weeks of Unemployment Insurance (UI) Available
State Unemployment (3 month avg.) Reg. UI available
Alabama 6.0% 26 weeks
Alaska 6.7% 26 weeks
Arizona 5.9% 26 weeks
Arkansas 5.7% 25 weeks
California 6.3% 26 weeks
Colorado 4.3% 26 weeks
Connecticut 6.0% 26 weeks
Delaware 4.6% 26 weeks
District of Columbia 7.3% 26 weeks
Florida 5.6% 14 weeks
Georgia 6.2% 14 weeks
initial claims before 7/1/15 6.2% 17 weeks
Hawaii 4.0% 26 weeks
Idaho 3.9% 26 weeks
Illinois 6.0% 26 weeks
Indiana 5.1% 26 weeks
Iowa 3.8% 26 weeks
Kansas 4.4% 16 weeks
Kentucky 5.1% 26 weeks
Louisiana 6.5% 26 weeks
Maine 4.7% 26 weeks
Maryland 5.3% 26 weeks
Massachusetts 4.6% 30 weeks
Michigan 5.5% 20 weeks
Minnesota 3.8% 26 weeks
Mississippi 6.6% 26 weeks
Missouri 5.8% 20 weeks
Montana 3.9% 28 weeks
Nebraska 2.6% 26 weeks
Nevada 7.0% 26 weeks
New Hampshire 3.8% 26 weeks
New Jersey 6.4% 26 weeks
New Mexico 6.2% 26 weeks
New York 5.7% 26 weeks
North Carolina 5.7% 12 weeks
initial claims before 7/1/15 5.7% 15 weeks
North Dakota 3.1% 26 weeks
Ohio 5.2% 26 weeks
Oklahoma 4.3% 26 weeks
Oregon 5.3% 26 weeks
Pennsylvania 5.4% 26 weeks
Puerto Rico 12.4% 26 weeks
Rhode Island 6.0% 26 weeks
South Carolina 6.7% 20 weeks
South Dakota 3.7% 26 weeks
Tennessee 5.8% 26 weeks
Texas 4.2% 26 weeks
Utah 3.5% 26 weeks
Vermont 3.6% 26 weeks
Virgin Islands 6.9% 26 weeks
Virginia 4.9% 26 weeks
Washington 5.4% 26 weeks
West Virginia 7.2% 26 weeks
Wisconsin 4.5% 26 weeks
Wyoming 4.1% 26 weeks
 
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