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 nine states provide fewer weeks and two provide more.
January 31, 2018
The federal-state unemployment insurance (UI) system helps many people who have lost their jobs by temporarily replacing part of their wages. (See “Introduction to 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. The federally funded temporary Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program expired at the end of 2013, however, and only Alaska and the Virgin Islands currently qualify to offer more weeks under the permanent Extended Benefits (EB) program.
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, and South Carolina provide up to 20 weeks of UI; and
- Missouri provides up to 13 weeks of UI.
The remaining five states periodically update their maximum weeks of UI available based on changes in the state’s unemployment rate:
- Idaho currently provides up to 21 weeks of UI;
- Kansas currently provides up to 16 weeks of UI;
- Florida provides up to 12 weeks of UI;
- Georgia currently provides up to 14 weeks of UI; and
- North Carolina provides up to 12 weeks of UI.
The map below shows the maximum number of weeks of benefits currently available in each state.
The table below shows the latest three-month average unemployment rate for each state over November 2017 - January 2018, 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||6.3%||26 weeks|
|New Hampshire||2.7%||26 weeks|
|New Jersey||5.0%||26 weeks|
|New Mexico||6.1%||26 weeks|
|New York||4.7%||26 weeks|
|North Carolina||4.3%||12 weeks|
|North Dakota||2.5%||26 weeks|
|Puerto Rico||10.8%||26 weeks|
|Rhode Island||4.3%||26 weeks|
|South Carolina||4.0%||20 weeks|
|South Dakota||3.5%||26 weeks|
|Virgin Islands||13.4%||26 weeksa|
|West Virginia||5.3%||26 weeks|