Skip to main content

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 12 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.

The two states providing more than the 26-week maximum are:

  • Massachusetts, which reverted to providing up to 30 weeks of UI, effective September 5, 2021, (the maximum number of weeks is reduced to 26 when a federal extended benefits program is in place as it was during the pandemic, or in periods of low unemployment such as those immediately before the pandemic); and
  • Montana, which provides up to 28 weeks of UI.

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:

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 May 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). 

Unemployment Rates and Weeks of Unemployment Insurance (UI) Available
StateUnemployment (3-month average)Maximum number of weeks of benefits available
Alabama2.314 weeks
Alaska3.726 weeks
Arizona3.626 weeks
Arkansas3.016 weeks
California4.426 weeks
Colorado2.826 weeks
Connecticut3.926 weeks
Delaware4.426 weeks
District of Columbia4.826 weeks
Florida2.612 weeks
Georgia3.126 weeks
Hawai’i3.526 weeks
Idaho2.621 weeks
 Illinois4.426 weeks
Indiana3.126 weeks
Iowa2.816 weeks
Kansas2.916 weeks
Kentucky3.812 weeks
Louisiana3.626 weeks
Maine2.626 weeks
Maryland2.726 weeks
Massachusetts3.530 weeks
Michigan4.120 weeks
Minnesota2.926 weeks
Mississippi3.626 weeks
Missouri2.520 weeks
Montana2.328 weeks
Nebraska2.226 weeks
Nevada5.526 weeks
New Hampshire2.426 weeks
New Jersey3.526 weeks
New Mexico3.626 weeks
New York4.126 weeks
North Carolina3.512 weeks
North Dakota2.126 weeks
Ohio3.826 weeks
Oklahoma3.016 weeks
Oregon4.426 weeks
Pennsylvania4.226 weeks
Puerto Rico6.026 weeks
Rhode Island3.026 weeks
South Carolina3.220 weeks
South Dakota2.026 weeks
Tennessee3.426 weeks
Texas4.026 weeks
Utah2.426 weeks
Vermont2.626 weeks
Virgin Islands1.926 weeks
Virginia3.226 weeks
Washington4.526 weeks
West Virginia3.526 weeks
Wisconsin2.526 weeks
Wyoming3.726 weeks