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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, the onus is on 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 $1,220  depending on the eligibility criteria. But only a handful of states such as Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey provide such generous benefits. The majority of the states provide average benefits in the range of $300 to $500.

Before we get to the details, you can now 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

State Unemployment Rate Max. Weeks of Benefits Max. Weekly Benefits Max. Dearness  Allowance
Min.
Weekly Benefits
Alabama 4.0 26 $275 N/A $45
Alaska 6.6 26 $370 $72 $56
Arizona 6.9 20 $240 N/A $187
Arkansas 4.5 26 $451 N/A $81
California 8.5 26 $450 N/A $50
Colorado 6.6 26 $649 N/A N/A
Connecticut 8.5 26 $667 $75 $75
Delaware 6.3 26 $400 N/A $20
Florida 4.7 26 $275 N/A N/A
Georgia 4.8 12 $365 N/A $55
Hawaii 9.2 14 $648 N/A $5
Idaho 3.3 26 $414 N/A N/A
Illinois 7.4 26 $505 $178 N/A
Indiana 4.0 21 $390 N/A $50
Iowa 3.6 26 $493 $106 $73
Kansas 3.2 26 $488 N/A $122
Kentucky 5.2 16 $560 N/A $39
Louisiana 7.6 26 $247 N/A $101
Maine 4.8 26 $462 (till May 31,2021) $215 N/A
Maryland 6.2 30 $430 N/A $50
Massachusetts 7.1 26 $855 $397 N/A
Michigan 5.2 26 $362 $209 $209
Minnesota 4.3 20 $762 N/A N/A
Mississippi 6.3 26 $235 N/A $30
Missouri 4.2 13 $320 N/A N/A
Montana 3.9 26 $552 N/A $163
Nebraska 3.1 28 $440 N/A N/A
Nevada 8.3 12 $469 N/A N/A
New Hampshire 3.3 26 $427 N/A $32
New Jersey 7.8 26 $713 N/A N/A
New Mexico 8.3 26 $484 $50 $90
New York 8.9 26 $504 N/A $172
North Carolina 5.7 26 $350 $50 $50
North Dakota 4.7 26 $618 N/A N/A
Ohio 5.0 26 $480 $155 $140
Oklahoma 4.4 26 $520 N/A N/A
Oregon 6.1 26 $648 N/A $151
Pennsylvania 7.3 26 $572 $8 $8
Rhode Island 7.3 26 $599 $144 $59
South Carolina 5.2 26 $326 N/A $42
South Dakota 2.9 20 $428 N/A $28
Tennessee 4.9 26 $275 N/A N/A
Texas 6.9 26 $535 N/A $70
Utah 3.0 26 $560 N/A N/A
Vermont 3.1 26 $513 N/A N/A
Virginia 5.2 26 $378 N/A $60
Washington DC 8.1 26 $444 N/A N/A
Washington 5.6 26 $844 N/A $201
West Virginia 6.2 26 $424 N/A $24
Wisconsin 3.8 26 $370 N/A $54
Wyoming 5.3 26 $508 N/A $36

 

Benefits Comparison Chart

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

Benefits Comparison Chart

State Unemployment Benefits Comparison. (Click to Enlarge)

States that pay the highest unemployment insurance compensation

  1. Massachusetts – $1,220
  2. Ohio – $802
  3. Washington – $790
  4. Rhode Island – $730
  5. Connecticut – $724

Massachusetts provides the highest amount, but please note that the amount ranges from $769 to $1,220 depending on your eligibility.

States that pay lowest unemployment insurance compensation

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

Mississippi pays the lowest amount in the country, followed by Arizona.

States that provide unemployment compensation for a longer duration

  1. Massachusetts – 30 Weeks
  2. Montana – 28 Weeks

States that provide unemployment compensation for a shorter duration

  1. Florida – 12 Weeks
  2. North Carolina – 12 Weeks
  3. Missouri – 13 Weeks
  4. Georgia – 14 Weeks
  5. Kansas – 16 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 in inefficient service to workers and employers. This map shows six states that won the Performance Excellence Awards for 2018:

 If you want to know more, check out the 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 the most accurate and up-to-date info. Information is current as of December 2017. For further reading on unemployment insurance, please refer to the following articles:

https://fileunemployment.org