Policy Basics: How Many Weeks of Unemployment Compensation Are Available?
February 9, 2016
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, 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 provides up to 12 weeks of UI for new claimants in 2016;
- Georgia currently provides up to 14 weeks of UI; and
- North Carolina provides up to 13 weeks of UI for new claimants in 2016.
The table below shows the latest three-month average unemployment rate for each state over October-December 2015, as well as the maximum number of weeks of UI benefits currently available in each state through regular UI.
|Unemployment Rates and Weeks of Unemployment Insurance (UI) Available|
|State||Unemployment (3 month avg.)||Reg. UI available|
|District of Columbia||6.6%||26 weeks|
|initial claims before 1/1/16||5.1%||14 weeks|
|New Hampshire||3.2%||26 weeks|
|New Jersey||5.3%||26 weeks|
|New Mexico||6.8%||26 weeks|
|New York||4.8%||26 weeks|
|North Carolina||5.7%||13 weeks|
|initial claims before 1/1/16||5.7%||12 weeks|
|North Dakota||2.7%||26 weeks|
|Puerto Rico||12.3%||26 weeks|
|Rhode Island||5.2%||26 weeks|
|South Carolina||5.5%||20 weeks|
|South Dakota||3.1%||26 weeks|
|Virgin Islands||5.3%||26 weeks|
|West Virginia||6.5%||26 weeks|