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 ten states provide fewer weeks and one provides more.
January 13, 2020
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 no state currently qualifies 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 except when a federal extended benefits program is in place or in periods of low unemployment, as is the case now, when the maximum drops to 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 six 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;
- Alabama currently provides up to 14 weeks of UI for new enrollees, with an additional 5-week extension for those enrolled in a state-approved training program;
- Georgia currently provides up to 14 weeks of UI;
- Florida currently provides up to 12 weeks of UI; and
- North Carolina currently 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 September – November 2019, 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||5.3||26 weeks|
|New Hampshire||2.6||26 weeks|
|New Jersey||3.2||26 weeks|
|New Mexico||4.8||26 weeks|
|New York||4.0||26 weeks|
|North Carolina||4.0||12 weeks|
|North Dakota||2.5||26 weeks|
|Puerto Rico||7.7||26 weeks|
|Rhode Island||3.6||26 weeks|
|South Carolina||2.7||20 weeks|
|South Dakota||3.0||26 weeks|
|Virgin Islands||4.9||26 weeks|
|West Virginia||4.8||26 weeks|