Unemployment Benefits Comparison by State

Unemployment insurance programs are governed by State governments and are funded by state, federal and private companies that pay employment tax. Ultimately, it comes to the state government to balance the checkbook, so the state has to decide the benefits maximum amount, duration, and eligibility to receive the benefits. For this reason, you notice that unemployment benefits largely vary by state.

Some states like Massachusetts could pay as high as 939 dollars depending on the eligibility criteria. But only a handful of states such as Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey provide such generous benefits. Majority of the states provide average benefits in the range of 300 to 500 dollars.

Before we get to the details, we want to inform you that we now have tools to check your eligibility and calculate benefits in your state.

Benefits Amount and Duration by State

This table provides a complete list of unemployment benefits and duration for all 50 states. It provides the maximum dollar amount per week and also the maximum number of weeks benefits provided by each state.

Comparison of State Unemployment Benefits

StateUnemp RateMax Weeks of BenefitsMax.Weekly BenefitsMax. DA AllowanceTotal Weekly Benefits
Alaska6.526$370$72$442
Alabama726$265-$265
Arkansas6.225$451-$451
Arizona726$240-$240
California7.426$450-$450
Colorado5.326$466-$466
Connecticut6.626$591$75$666
Dist of Columbia7.426$359-$359
Delaware6.226$330-$330
Florida6.219$275-$275
Georgia7.818$330-$330
Hawaii4.426$534-$534
Iowa4.526$396$85$481
Idaho4.826$357-$357
Illinois6.825$413$147$560
Indiana5.926$390-$390
Kansas4.926$456-$456
Kentucky7.426$415-$415
Louisiana5.426$247-$247
Massachusetts5.626$674$314$988
Maryland6.126$430$40$470
Maine5.526$372$178$550
Michigan7.725$362$30$392
Minnesota4.526$393-$393
Missouri6.520$320-$320
Mississippi826$235-$235
Montana4.628$446-$446
North Carolina6.519$350-$350
North Dakota2.826$516-$516
Nebraska3.626$362-$362
New Hampshire4.426$427-$427
New Jersey6.526$624$13$637
New Mexico6.626$407$100$507
Nevada7.726$402-$402
New York6.626$405-$405
Ohio5.726$413$133$546
Oklahoma4.626$386-$386
Oregon6.926$524-$524
Pennsylvania5.726$573$8$581
Rhode Island7.726$566$137$703
South Carolina5.720$326-$326
South Dakota3.726$333-$333
Tennessee7.126$275$50$325
Texas5.126$440-$440
Utah3.626$479-$479
Virginia5.426$378-$378
Vermont3.726$425-$425
Washington5.626$604-$604
Wisconsin5.826$363-$363
West Virginia6.326$424-$424
Wyoming4.426$459-$459

Benefits Comparison Chart

The following comparison data provides an overview of benefits and shows which states pay well.

Compare State Unemployment Benefits

State Unemployment Benefits Comparison (Click to enlarge)

 

States that pay highest unemployment insurance compensation

  1. Massachusetts – $939
  2. Rhode Island – $688
  3. Connecticut – $630
  4. New Jersey – $611
  5. Pennsylvania – $581

Massachusetts seems to be providing highest amount, but please note that the amount ranges from $625 to $939, so depending on your eligibility, you may get anywhere from $625 to $939.  In terms of the duration, most of the top 5 states provide similar coverage.

States that pay lowest unemployment insurance compensation

  1. Mississippi – $235
  2. Arizona – $240
  3. Louisiana – $247
  4. Alabama – $265
  5. Florida – $275

Mississippi  pays the lowest amount in country, followed by Arizona. Even though Florida is also one of the lowest paying states, it does pay the benefits for 99 weeks, the longest in the country.

States that provide unemployment compensation for longer duration

  1. California – 99 weeks
  2. District of Columbia – 99 weeks
  3. Florida – 99 weeks
  4. Illinois – 99 weeks
  5. North Carolina – 99 weeks

States that provide unemployment compensation for shorter duration

  1. Iowa – 60 weeks
  2. North Dakota – 60 weeks
  3. Nebraska – 60 weeks
  4. New Hampshire – 60 weeks
  5. South Dakota – 60 weeks

Not surprisingly, the states that provide unemployment insurance coverage for a shorter  duration also provide less money. These are the “stingy” states you don’t want to live if you fear unemployment. These states are more likely to be business friendly as businesses don’t have to pay as much employment taxes compared to other states.

State Performance Excellence Awards

Dept. of Labor awards the states based on their  performance every year. The awards are given based on management, planning and oversight resulting into efficient service to workers and employers. This map shows six states that won the Performance Excellence Awards for 2013:

If you want to know more, check out UI performance awards page

Source:
Data was collected from various govt. websites. There may be some minor errors and you are advised to contact the State employment office for most accurate and up-to-date info. Information is current as of Nov 2013. For further reading on unemployment insurance, please refer to the following articles.

Responses

  1. tish says:

    so if I was working overseas, and I was laid off but my job was tax exempt up to a certain amount, my taxes were paid in florida but I live in Arkansas, once I file my florida claim can it transfer to Arkansas because I wont be able to travel to florida for no follow uups.

    • Adrian says:

      Everything works online these days. You don’t have to be worried about transferring a claim.

      Your claims can be managed online.

  2. Tes says:

    What should do unemployed people who exhausted their 26 week benefit? In my case, soon after I lost my job, my car was repo’d, evicted from my apt. It didn’t stop there. As an immigrant, I have no place to stay permanently. I’m now asking the few friends I have to stay for a night or two. This has been going on since Dec. we’re now in March. Unable to pay my storage bills, it’ll go into auction on March. I can’t even take a few essential items. I tried the waiting game of the shelters. How I got into this deepEST trouble? It beats me! Really! Otherwise, I’m a responsible, educated person (Ms., and BS in comp. scie. with some professional certifications. I know crying won’t do any good but that’s what I do. Prayers don’t seem to be heard fast enough. I don’t want to put too much here but sometimes I imagine the unimaginable. I need any and all types of guidance please.

    • Adrian says:

      I can understand the ordeal you’re passing thru. We receive a good number of questions from people who have exhausted their regular benefits.You must look at joining like minded people and talk to govt. officials responsible.

      On the flip side,please take assistance from the state labor website on job assistance and must also make daily searches on other job portals.Remember, employers will have thousands like you and a job will never come in search of you. You have find to nail it.

  3. Boon Pickens says:

    Oklahoma unemployment only lasts according to a dollar amount… For me that was about 23 weeks… Now eligible for emergency unemployment I have another 10 weeks according to the new dollar amount which is reduced due to the sequester… So I’m not sure why it isn’t on the list of shortest unemployment benefit times. Also, I’m a vet with an AA and a BA, before anyone starts mouthing off… I have been applying everywhere…

  4. Joe says:

    MA resident laid-off from NH. I had opened a claim with NH, but found a job in my home state within 2 weeks. Laid-off last week from my job in MA. It turned out that I am eligible for MA unemployment benefits, pays much higher than NH. But, I had to withdraw my open claim in NH.
    Called NH to withdraw my claim, I was told I cannot do that.
    I am confused, why NH won’t let me withdraw my claim. What do they GAIN?
    Most likely I will start another job within 2 weeks.
    But I want to understand what is this all about. Why NH insisting that I must collect from NH. Does unemployment comes out of their budget or something?

  5. Susan G says:

    Are you also eligible for food stamps and EBT cash when you get that whopping great benefit of $275 @ week?? So you can buy Bar-S bologna,bread and some toilet paper?

    • Dennis says:

      No toilet paper in SC. Thats not food so you cant get it here. if you qualify to unemployment you make too much for food stamps. so yo need to save they unemployment money to buy incidentals, or just steal it from the McDonalds napkin dispencers.

  6. Janie says:

    I am a consultant who resides in Alabama. My employer has it’s headquarters in Indiana which is where my payroll is generated. Most of my work was conducted in Tennessee. In which state do I file for unemployment benefits?

    • Rick Greene says:

      Hey
      it.s funny to me the states that pay the least, seems to have the least employment rate. Here in North Carolina I had a Guy that lived
      2 doors from me and he would brag that about how much he got from the State of NJ, By the way he had worked in NJ. He got more in benfits than I got from SS an I worked 50 Years. And they wonder why people won,t go back to work.

  7. Kelly says:

    Is there a change in amount of benefits if I have been working overseas and not living in the US or SC?

  8. Frankie Grantab says:

    JB Horen really needs to live, work and buy in New York City. Our highest weekly rate is $405 regardless of what you earned while working.
    Who needs more than $1100 per month to live? A small studio in the boroughs is minimum $1100. In Manhattan it’s $2800. Oh, uhh, not everybody rents – you could lose your co-op apt or house. Ever bought groceries here? BTW, if you bring in (regardless of how) more than $1100 per month you are “over the limit” in income to qualify for Food Stamps. On Unemployment we would, and often do, have to cut essentials — like health insurance, medication co-pays, life insurance, car payments & insurance (if you have a car), carfare (how to go to job interviews?), internet (how to find a job then?) – cable’s already been cut. Maybe you’ve never paid a Con Ed electric bill or had a Verizon phone account. Move elsewhere? And move all your connections and your family too?? Don’t know where you live, but it’s not in Reality NYC.

  9. nan delvin says:

    do I have more then one u.i extention in mi. can my unemployment extend beyound 30 weeks?

    • Union operator says:

      Unionize work forces make more money and better benifits so why kill the union people . We’re the only standard you have for the wages you make . Once we’re gone we’ll all lose . Stop sitting quietly while you get poorer and companies make billions profit per quater

  10. shaima says:

    how i get my unempoyment ?

    • rashmi says:

      Shaima, you should have applied for the benefits as soon as you have lost the job, but still if you have worked enough hours and wage you can expect some nominal benefits file the claim considering your eligibility you will be paid…

  11. shaima says:

    two yaers i dont have job why im not qolafay for unemploymet.?

  12. susie farcus says:

    stingy states???? You write that as if there is some filthy rich King that is hording money and not giving it to you. Unemployment benefits come out of tax payers dollars, come out of employers who have to pay unemployment insurance. Extending unemployment benefits is welfare. I do not understand the concept of getting paid to not work. I was raised that if you want money, you earn it by working. Stop all of these entitlement programs and stop punishing successful businesses and watch the businesses start hiring like crazy. What has happened to the people of this country? When did we lose our self-reliance? our self respect?

    • Thom says:

      “…When did we lose our self-reliance?… ” Actually, it started decades ago when we shut down industry after industry in this country and moved them overseas. It was happening slowly, at first. But then the NAFTA trade deal really opened the flood gates, in case you’re too young to remember all that.

      • Susan G says:

        No offense, honestly, but your grammar and spelling might be a factor here. Take a hard look at how you speak and communicate with others.
        Remember, your first contact with a prospective employer might very well be via phone or email and you only get that one chance to make s good first impression.

  13. Ken says:

    I am going to get laid off this week and I am going to move to a different state.Where should I apply the state I worked in or the state I am moving to?

    • joetta says:

      I live in Texas and I’m getting layed off my job on 04/30/2012 and I am moving to Okla. where should I apply for my unemployment benefits? Texas or Okla

      • Luios says:

        Apply in the state where you reside now or moving to shortly. The states are supposed to work with each other to get your unemployment benefits.

        • Rash says:

          Generally you need to file the claim in the state where you worked and not where you live. In case if you have worked for the state other than where you lived for past 18 months then your claim should be filed against that state. In majority cases, you will be instructed to contact the state where you worked directly, you can communicate with State’s Unemployment Insurance Committee through online. But in some rare cases the State administrative centre will take your claim forward against the state where you worked.

        • Rash says:

          you need to apply for the claim where you worked

  14. Barb says:

    When you leave the military, and apply for unemployment. It is the state to which you establish a residence. Not your home of record, not where you exit the military, not where your personal household goods will be shipped to…someday down the road. So, wherever that address is that you establish, that’s where you get your unemployment. SO, KNOW the rules of the state, including any education related benefits, such as collecting unemployment while going to college. Most retirees will not be able to collect from the military. However if they get a position subsequent to the military, and subsequently is released from THAT position, he/she may be eligible to collect UI. You can always apply. The worst they can say is no.

  15. Kim says:

    Let me explain….
    I worked for a company in the morning and then travel and worked for another company. They are separate businesses but ran by the same person… so when they laid me off, I was laid off by both. How do I file. Only one or both? Please help?

  16. Jim says:

    I have to use my sisters computer since layed off. I’m drawing employment in the state of Mississippi. I just stated on an extension how long is the extension and where do I go to find out for sure. I need an answer A.S.P. Looking for work here ( what a joke for 1job there thousands that apply ) come on america get with the program and help people that live in the states to make a living. Quit sending all the money over seas

    • rashmi says:

      You would be provided all the details in the extension letter offered to you, you will be mailed all the details if not you can directly login to website with your social security number and get the details

  17. jack says:

    I was collecting unemploment in a state that I decided to draw from them and no combined states, just them, but I worked and collected and did not report, now the state I was drawing from has informed me that I need to persue the other state for additional benefits since I have run out in that state, now if I file with new state will the first state find out about the unreported wages, what’s your take on this, any input would be much appreciated.

  18. No job says:

    I have used all my Unemployment Benefits, been out of work for 2 years now…..Good old USA………

    • Steve says:

      Good old USA guarantees you the pursuit of happiness, with “Pursuit” being the key word. Are you telling me you pursued finding a job to the best of your ability for two years? What were you….. A BETA Video Player repairman?

  19. Deneane Dunlop says:

    I also have used up all my benefits(72 weeks) for NY. What do I do now? What can I apply for to pay the bills?(Rent, phone, food)

  20. Jett says:

    I believe that the weeks payable on the graph above is incorrect. The person that wrote this article needs to do ALOT more research. No state pays 79 wks of unemployment!! In most states 26 weeks is the most. You can’t have but 1 claim a year therefore there’s no way you could draw for 79 weeks a year. (52 weeks in a year) WHERE did this bogus info come from?????

  21. Gary says:

    I have been collecting unemployment for a while in MA due to a layoff in MA.
    After a while I began working 2 hrs. a day for 6 days /week in NH. MA sent me letters that I owe them back funds because I DID NOT file in NH. First off, I did not get laid off in NH ALSO, a MA unemployment rep informed me that OBAMA put into law, that if the amount of benefits is 25% lower or $100.00 or more less than the amount collected in previous state, you DO NOT have to accept this much lower amount and can continue collecting in higher amount state. I am currently trying to fight this and need to know WHERE I might find this law, ruling from OBAMA.
    Can anyone help me? I am very desperate, MA wants me to pay over $4000. back when I was told I did not need to accept NH much lower benefits. Please, Please help.

    • Jett says:

      Did you report the wages you received from NH when you filed your weekly claim? If not, that may be why you owe them. You have to draw out of the state you worked in so you couldn’t have drawn out of NH. Regardless of where you earn your wages when you’re drawing, you have to report them and they will deduct it from your weekly amount of unemployment.

  22. kginch says:

    This is very old info. On unemployment for first time ever, I can tell you:
    ILLINOIS: $388 max.
    Please move them WAY DOWN… no where near what you made or is liveable if you have a mortgage and now paying COBRA.

  23. Ray says:

    D’OH !!!!

  24. Darleen Guagliardo says:

    If I have used all weeks of unemployment benefits in January and been actively looking since and still no Job. Can I re apply for benefits?

  25. Ashley says:

    My hunny is currently active duty military and will be retiring in September. I am being told that the Air Force will be paying his unemployment. Does he have a choice in what state he choses to file in . We are currently in VA but NY is his home of record ( where he would have paid state taxes while in military was it applicable)…

    • John Day says:

      I am in the Army and am currently in Iraq. It has been brought to my attention, that since we are payed by the federal gov we can claim anywhere. The reason for this is because we didn’t work in any particular state according to the gov.

      • Johnothan Rears says:

        I do not believe this is true. When I got out (long time ago so may not apply). The home of record State was used. Now days though, who knows? By the way, I was also denied unemployment back then because I could have re-enlisted so was considered quitting, which does not get you a thing. I hope that has changed but probably has not.

  26. Boilermaker from, MO says:

    Go Union, Vote Union YES, its a mobster style organization, kind of,. (in regards to union dues) but you will make good money and living, the union dues that I pay’d as a boilermaker apx a yr is 5,000 bucks, but made over $103,000 last yr, as a welder, worked about 8 months out of the year. It’s worth every penny to pay union dues. GO UNION!!!!

    • katy says:

      ITS UNIONS that help bankrupt , our country…yea at $5,000 in dues and making 103,000 you can afford it but to bully others that choose not to pay 5,000 in dues is not fair….

      • gerry says:

        is that the reason the corporations are spending so much money to keep unions – I don’t think so, if they didn’t benefit the employee the corporations would care less.

    • Bonky says:

      Here in ny 405 has been the standard for at least 10 years. How can you keep a competent building trades workforce in place if you can’t help the unions out with better UE benes when employment is low. Thats what UE was originally intended for anyhow. WE PAY INTO IT! ITs our money. But most of public funds are wasted on hasidic jews and single moms from the ghetto and outside countries who pump em out just to get a better meal ticket. Whats wrong with this picture?

  27. Sandra says:

    Re: Tyler: Unemployment is given to those who are laid off, not fired. Drug use has nothing to do with getting laid off, so urinalysis would be inappropriate.

    Mecka: In NM, unemployment payments are based off how much you made, which as far as I can tell is how unemployment works everywhere. It’s the percentages of each state that determine how much you get. In NM, you get 52.5% of what you made at your previous job. I get $209 a week (part-time call center work), my hunnie was collecting $475 a week (worked tech at a national lab), one of my roommates was getting $315 (worked sales for call centers), and another is getting $175 (worked hospitality). These percentages change with each state and depict how much people get. I was surprised to not see this percentages break-down on this site. You can find the percentage in the unemployment handbook which is usually able to be found on the home page for your state unemployment department. The reason why the payments are low is because it is meant to help someone while finding another job. It is not intended to be something someone can completely live on. A little bit of payment is better then none is the way I look at it.

    It wouldn’t be fair to give one standard amount because you can get people who got minimum wage working getting the same payments as someone who gets $20 or more an hour. It would not be fair for me to get the $475 amount my hunnie got because that was over the amount that I received at my job and my hunnie would not be able to live a week on what I get, hence the difference in payments. Since the amount each state normally gives for unemployment is dependent on the wages people made, if the major demographic on unemployment was making minimum wage, the payment amounts average may be lower than expected.

    Also, the maximum number of weeks may have gone up for most states, especially in this economy. New Mexico is up to 99 weeks right now.

  28. Miriam says:

    I live in Texas and am currently in the first tier of EUB. I’m moving to Virginia. Do I keep filing with TX for UI or do I apply all over again with Virginia ?

    • gerry says:

      call the state that you are moving to and see if you might be best to use a combination of the states for your payments.

  29. [...] Originally Posted by Scal2010 http://lwd.state.nj.us/uiapp/Start.html Is that accurate? When I use that calculation tool I'm getting much, much more money and for much longer than when I use the formula MA has. Calculating Your Benefit Rate Can two states be THAT different? Indeed, they can. See this: Unemployment Benefits Comparison by State | File Unemployment [...]

  30. Mecka says:

    I live in FL and get $275 a week…ha, ha, ha. It angers me that all the states don’t have the same benefit amount. How in God’s name does it make any sense that NJ, CT, PA, etc. get hundreds of dollars more than FL each week. How can you live on $275.00 I don’t understand this how the numbers can be so different. I’m too busy looking for work to research this. Can someone please explain this to me? I think the USA needs a revolution. Where do we get all this money to help others while at the same time our government is telling and showing us that we aren’t worth more than $275 a week. I worked hard since I was 16 yrs. old. The frustration is hard to handle on a day-to-day basis.

    and

    • jj says:

      I am right here with you. bank was at my home servicing me foreclosure papers today. I search each day for work and live in a very modest 900sf home, no cable, no phone… mortgage, water, elec. I will miss living indoors but looks like soon this country will all be split. Those living indoors and those in camps. I have worked all my life and lived within my means…. maybe should have refinanced and partied while the gettings were good!!!

    • JBHoren says:

      $275/week isn’t bad; it’s $1,100/month. Who can’t live on that? (single individual, so lay-off you family guys/gals)

      If your paying a mortgage above $800/month, you lose! Get out of it and move to where 1BR/1BA apartments are $500-$600 — that’ll leave you an equivalent $500-$600/month. You shouldn’t be spending more than $60/week for food; and the hell with restaurants fast or fancy — cook it yourself! (no, not frozen dinners)

      The rest should cover your utilities; if not, cut-back! Unemployment benefits weren’t designed for the recipients to save part of it, or use it for “discretionary” purchases. Get frugal!

      • cnyf says:

        let me tell you there is no way to live on 275. lower apartment or not. what if you have a car loan, gas, all that. i’ve been on the end of 275 and it is not possible. its lower than minimum wage.

        i lived in jersey and in 1992 i collected 365. florida sucks and i have been here 15 years and it has never changed from 275.

        • Charlotte Conservative says:

          ” its lower than minimum wage.” –

          Its supposed to be. If it was better than a job, why would anyone work?

          My favorite line above
          “These are the “stingy” states you don’t want to live if you fear unemployment”

          60 weeks of free money is stingy? meanwhile North Dakota has 3.1% unemployment thanks to the same republicans. Since the idea is that you want a job not welfare, perhaps we should applaud a state that focused on supplying jobs and not checks for 2 years for free.

          Again. 3.1% unemployment in STINGY STATES.
          5.1% in Iowa
          3.5 in Nebraska

          And California is SO GENEROUS with 99 weeks of free checks.
          California 10% unemployment
          Ney York 8.5% unemployment
          Harry Reids Nevada 11.6 % unemployment.

          I know liberals hate FACTS, But I see blue states with lots of free checks and no jobs, while the stingy red states have ultra low unemployment and less free money.

          But relax “progressives” well keep working, while you complain that your checks are late.

      • metalpupper says:

        I am over 55 and I live in Brevard county Florida and complete for jobs with the thousands of others laid off from the end of the shuttle program and the cuts in defense.

        JB, you forgot to add in the $500 a month to pay for medical insurance. My mortgage is only $600 a month, but my house is only worth 70% of what I paid for it and the bank will not refinance.

    • Matt says:

      Different states have different costs of living! That is why benefits are different. Florida has a very low cost of living compared to Massachusetts for example…

  31. dan says:

    GO UNION

  32. Broke says:

    Mississippi has the most unemployment yet we get barely anything from the government. WHAAAT?? Sucks.

    • Ayelen says:

      hassan Posted on You can name your blog on your own name like miror, one thing more, you should name it aocirdcng to your interest.

  33. Girl from Haysville says:

    What does a urinalysis test have to do with unempoyment? Give me a break if you lose your job do you assume that the person does drugs. I mean really!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. [...] Re: Right to work, the real story! The top 5 states as far as monetary amounts for collecting unemployment are NOT right to work states, the bottom 5 ARE right to work states! States that pay highest unemployment insurance compensation Massachusetts ($628-942, 72 weeks) Rhode Island ($528-660, 79 weeks) Pennsylvania ($558-566, 72 weeks) Connecticut ($519-594, 72 weeks) New Jersey (584, 79 weeks) States that pay lowest unemployment insurance compensation Mississippi ($230, 59 weeks) Arizona ($240, 72 weeks) Alabama ($255, 59 weeks) Tennessee ($275, 59 weeks) Florida ($275, 79 weeks) Unemployment Benefits Comparison by State | File Unemployment [...]

  35. Tyler.. says:

    I think people should have to pass a urinalysis test to collect unemployment.

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