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

Workers in most states are eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits from the regular state-funded unemployment compensation program, although 13 states provide fewer weeks, and two provide more. Extended Benefits (EB) are not triggered on in any state. Additional weeks of pandemic federal benefits ended in all states on September 6, 2021.

The federal-state unemployment insurance (UI) system helps many people who have lost their jobs by temporarily replacing part of their wages. (See “Policy Basics: Unemployment Insurance.”) Under certain circumstances, unemployed workers who exhaust their regular state-funded unemployment benefits before they can find work can receive additional weeks of benefits.

Under the CARES Act responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, all states received access to federal funding to provide additional weeks of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance (PEUC) benefits to people who exhausted their regular state benefits, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to many others who lost their jobs through no fault of their own but who were not normally eligible for UI in their state. These and other pandemic-related emergency UI programs ended nationwide the first weekend of September 2021, but many states stopped providing these federal benefits before that.

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

Montana, which provides a maximum of 28 weeks, is now the only state providing more than 26 weeks. Massachusetts has reduced its maximum to 26 weeks for those who file a new claim after July 2, 2023. (Massachusetts provides 28 weeks of UI except when its unemployment rate is very low, as it now is, or when a federal extended benefit program is in place, as it was in the pandemic.) 

The states providing fewer than the standard 26-week maximum include:

  • Arkansas, which provides up to 16 weeks of regular benefits;
  • Iowa, which reduced its maximum to 16 weeks for claims filed after July 3, 2022;
  • Michigan, which increased the maximum number of weeks to 26 earlier in the COVID-19 emergency but cut back to 20 weeks for new applicants in 2021;
  • Oklahoma, which provides 16 weeks of UI;
  • South Carolina and Missouri, which provide up to 20 weeks of UI.

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

  • Alabama currently provides up to 14 weeks of UI for new enrollees, with an additional five-week extension for those enrolled in a state-approved training program;
  • Georgia currently provides 14 weeks of UI. An increase to 26 weeks in the COVID-19 emergency has now expired; 
  • Florida currently provides up to 12 weeks for claims filed after January 1, 2022;
  • Idaho currently provides up to 21 weeks for new enrollees based on its November unemployment rate;
  • Kansas currently provides up to 16 weeks of UI; 
  • North Carolina currently provides up to 12 weeks;
  • Kentucky currently provides up to 12 weeks based on its average unemployment rate of less than 4.5 percent from July to September 2022.

State laws in many states with a maximum of 26 weeks employ a sliding scale based on a worker’s earnings history to determine the maximum number of weeks for which an individual worker qualifies. Except in Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawai’i, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico, many UI recipients’ maximum is fewer than 26 weeks.

The table below shows the latest three-month average unemployment rate for the period ending in December for each state, as well as the maximum number of weeks of benefits currently available through regular UI. EB is currently not triggered on in any state. When EB is triggered, the number of weeks of extended benefits in a state equals the smaller of 13 weeks or half the maximum number of weeks of regular UI in the state — unless the state has adopted an alternative trigger that adds up to seven more weeks when the state’s unemployment rate triggers on a High Unemployment Period (HUP), allowing up to 20 weeks of EB (but no more than 80 percent of the number of regular weeks the state provides). 

TABLE 1
Unemployment Rates and Weeks of Unemployment Insurance (UI) Available
StateUnemployment (3-month average)Maximum number of weeks of benefits available
Alabama2.414 weeks
Alaska4.426 weeks
Arizona4.226 weeks
Arkansas3.216 weeks
California4.926 weeks
Colorado3.326 weeks
Connecticut3.626 weeks
Delaware4.226 weeks
District of Columbia5.026 weeks
Florida2.912 weeks
Georgia3.426 weeks
Hawai’i2.926 weeks
Idaho3.321 weeks
Illinois4.726 weeks
Indiana3.626 weeks
Iowa3.316 weeks
Kansas2.916 weeks
Kentucky4.312 weeks
Louisiana3.526 weeks
Maine3.026 weeks
Maryland1.826 weeks
Massachusetts3.026 weeks
Michigan4.220 weeks
Minnesota3.126 weeks
Mississippi3.326 weeks
Missouri3.220 weeks
Montana3.028 weeks
Nebraska2.326 weeks
Nevada5.426 weeks
New Hampshire2.326 weeks
New Jersey4.726 weeks
New Mexico3.926 weeks
New York4.326 weeks
North Carolina3.512 weeks
North Dakota1.926 weeks
Ohio3.626 weeks
Oklahoma3.316 weeks
Oregon3.726 weeks
Pennsylvania3.426 weeks
Puerto Rico5.726 weeks
Rhode Island2.926 weeks
South Carolina3.020 weeks
South Dakota2.026 weeks
Tennessee3.526 weeks
Texas4.126 weeks
Utah2.826 weeks
Vermont2.126 weeks
Virgin Islands1.826 weeks
Virginia2.826 weeks
Washington4.026 weeks
West Virginia4.226 weeks
Wisconsin3.326 weeks
Wyoming3.026 weeks
Temas: