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

UPDATED
June 29, 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 provides up to 16 weeks of UI for new claimants in 2015, after providing up to 20 weeks in 2014;

  • Florida provides up to 14 weeks of UI for new claimants in 2015;

  • Georgia provides up to 17 weeks of UI for new claimants in 2015; and

  • North Carolina provides up to 15 weeks of UI for new claimants in 2015.

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 5.9% 26 wks
Alaska 6.6% 26 wks
Arizona 6.0% 26 wks
Arkansas 5.7% 25 wks
California 6.4% 26 wks
Colorado 4.3% 26 wks
Connecticut 6.2% 26 wks
Delaware 4.5% 26 wks
District of Columbia 7.5% 26 wks
Florida 5.7% 14 wks
Georgia 6.3% 17 wks
Hawaii 4.1% 26 wks
Idaho 3.8% 26 wks
Illinois 6.0% 26 wks
Indiana 5.5% 26 wks
Iowa 3.9% 26 wks
Kansas 4.3% 16 wks
Kentucky 5.1% 26 wks
Louisiana 6.6% 26 wks
Maine 4.7% 26 wks
Maryland 5.3% 26 wks
Massachusetts 4.7% 30 wks
Michigan 5.5% 20 wks
Minnesota 3.8% 26 wks
Mississippi 6.7% 26 wks
Missouri 5.7% 20 wks
Montana 4.0% 28 wks
Nebraska 2.6% 26 wks
Nevada 7.1% 26 wks
New Hampshire 3.9% 26 wks
New Jersey 6.5% 26 wks
New Mexico 6.2% 26 wks
New York 5.7% 26 wks
North Carolina 5.5% 15 wks
North Dakota 3.1% 26 wks
Ohio 5.2% 26 wks
Oklahoma 4.1% 26 wks
Oregon 5.3% 26 wks
Pennsylvania 5.3% 26 wks
Puerto Rico 12.1% 26 wks
Rhode Island 6.1% 26 wks
South Carolina 6.7% 20 wks
South Dakota 3.7% 26 wks
Tennessee 6.0% 26 wks
Texas 4.2% 26 wks
Utah 3.4% 26 wks
Vermont 3.7% 26 wks
Virgin Islands 6.7% 26 wks
Virginia 4.8% 26 wks
Washington 5.6% 26 wks
West Virginia 6.9% 26 wks
Wisconsin 4.5% 26 wks
Wyoming 4.1% 26 wks
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