Unemployment Benefits Comparison by State

Author : Ray

Updated : June 12th, 2019

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 Illinois could pay as high as $1,495  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.

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


Unemp Rate Max Weeks of Benefits Max.Weekly Benefits Max. DA Allowance Total Weekly Benefits


7.1 26 $370
$72 $442
Alabama 4.1 26 $265 $265
Arkansas 3.8 20 $451 $451
Arizona 4.7 26 $240 $240
California 4.2 26 $450 $450
Colorado 2.7 26 $597 $597
Connecticut 4.4 26 $631 $75 $706
Dist of Columbia 5.6 26 $425 $425
Delaware 3.9 26 $330 $330
Florida 3.8 12 $275 $275
Georgia 4.1 14 $330 $330
Hawaii 2.1 26 $630 $630
Iowa 2.7 26 $573 $104 $677
Idaho 2.9 21 $405 $405
Illinois 4.3 26 $648 $170 $1495
Indiana 3.3 26 $390 $390
Kansas 3.4 16 $474 $474
Kentucky 4.2 26 $502 $502
Louisiana 4.7 26 $247 $247
Massachusetts 3.5 30 $795 $384 $1179
Maryland 4.3 26 $430 $430
Maine 2.9 26 $646 $209 $855
Michigan 4.5 20 $362
Minnesota 3.1 26 $717 $717
Missouri 3.5 13 $320 $320
Mississippi 4.7 26 $235 $235
Montana 3.8 28 $487 $487
North Carolina 4.2 12 $350 $350
North Dakota 2.6 26 $595 $595
Nebraska 2.7 26 $426 $426
New Hampshire 2.7 26 $427 $427
New Jersey 4.9 26 $696
New Mexico 4.9 26 $442 $50 $492
Nevada 4.7 26 $407 $407
New York 4.5 26 $435 $435
Ohio 4.5 26 $598 $155 $753
Oklahoma 3.9 26 $520 $520
Oregon 4 26 $538 $538
Pennsylvania 4.3 26 $561 $8 $569
Rhode Island 4.3 26 $566 $141 $707
South Carolina 3.8 20 $326 $326
South Dakota 3.2 26 $352 $352
Tennessee 3.5 26 $275 $275
Texas 4 26 $507 $507
Utah 3 26 $543 $543
Virginia 3.2 26 $387 $387
Vermont 2.8 26 $466 $466
Washington 4.7 26 $749 $749
Wisconsin 2.9 26 $363 $363
West Virginia 5.3 26 $424 $424
Wyoming 3.7 26 $489


Benefits Comparison Chart

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

State Unemployment Benefits Comparison
State Unemployment Benefits Comparison. (Click to Enlarge)

States that pay highest unemployment insurance compensation

  1. Illinois – $1,495
  2. Massachusetts – $1,179
  3. Maine – $855
  4. Ohio – $753
  5. Connecticut – $706

Massachusetts provides the highest amount, but please note that the amount ranges from $769 to $1,537 depending on your eligibility.  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 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 into efficient 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 UI Performance Awards page

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 December 2017. For further reading on unemployment insurance, please refer to the following articles:

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  1. I applied for unemployment in New Mexico because I wasn’t getting my full-time hours and my checks were never correct I was constantly fighting with the company now I’ve exhausted my unemployment benefits and they sent me a questionnaire about my work and it says adjuctation what does that mean.. I am extremely frightened

    1. Amal,

      Adjudication is like an “Appeals” process. You may be asked to present facts and paperwork relating to your claim. If everything is fine with your claim, please face it with confidence. You’ll be given a sound hearing.

    1. Carolyn,

      If this is your initial claim, it will take a min. of 7-10 business days for the determination to be made. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for more.

    1. David,

      Please let us know the state you’re writing from. You can also visit the Unemployment Office’s official website for phone numbers.

    2. My initial unemployment benefits run out next month. How long does it take for the extension to be determined? As I havent found suitable work. And have met all requirements to find employment. Filed in TX. If I qualify for benefits do I automatically qualify for an extention?

      1. Le,

        The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.


    1. James,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  3. I am Disabled I have had several surgeries on my lower spine. I found that I was not able to male it die to Bills became overwhelming.
    I got a Job with S3 security in Tallahassee f. Where I found out that all company rules were online and They said I needed to find them and opine to them. I told them I was with Dyslexia and I. could not find them. and 2. if I could have would not have been able to remember them. this is one of my life time Disabilities. I asked to be explained the Rules but was not. For 6 mounts I was praised by the places I worked. Then recently the Sargent told me to help a student locked out there Apartment. So I did. Next day he wanted to write me up for doing what he told me to do. I told him No I would not sign a demerit that would follow me around for ever Paper work does that! I all ways did the best I could. The Captain had made a open threat that he would do all he could to take badges and make us look bad to Fla. AG. I had hurt my ankle and am getting over it. They say the wishes of Property manager was reason I was Terminated with not following post orders. Not signing the forms excepting the wright ups. With just having Epidurals to ease the Spinal pain and them being 1/2 done I had attitude to being lied on by my Sargent. When I was told to do a job. I am kinda Glad I am out of there. No Supervision just the Sargent larking in shadows waiting to wright me up to make him look good so it seemed. I had to use my own Ins. to go get help for my leg. Now I don’t know if I can get Unemployment due to what they say I did after suitability doing the best I could to keep the Complex and Students as safe that I could.

    1. William,

      UI benefits are offered to claimants who’re able and available for work. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification. Hope you get well soon!

  4. I have been trying to fill out unemployment application on line, but it will not let me put my social security # in the spaces

  5. From 1/2018 to 10/2018 I worked for a Merriville-based organization but I live in Illinois. The employer told me I couldn’t claim unemployment from Indiana because of my Illinois residency. Yesterday, I learned that I should have been able to. Can I claim those benefits now? I was unemployed from 10/19/2018 until 8/24/2019.

  6. I am trying to file a new unemployment claim on line and the link says it cant be reached. Are you experiencing any web site problems?

  7. I RECIEVED A”MY DOCUMENT” DATED 8/26/2019-TODAY STATING I DID NOT SEARCH FOR 2 JOBS LAST WEEK…BUT,1- 1/2 DAYS AGO, EARLY SUNDAY MORNING, JUST LIKE I HAVE FOR 9-WEEKS,I DID WHAT THEM SYSTEM TOLD ME TO DO. I FILED MY WEEKLY BENEFITS TELLING Y’ALL THAT ON THURSDAY 8/23/2019 I BEGAN WORKING AGAIN. I TOLD ON MY CLAIMING WEEKLY BENEFIT FORM THAT I ALSO WORKED FRIDAY. I TOLD THE AMOUNT OF MONEY I EARNED PER-HOUR, I TOLD THAT I I worked 16hrs for the week ending 8/24/19,i gave the total amount,and i told i have not got 10 cents of the money yet,and $12.75×16 is not more than $326.00. I just got home to learn payment is being held,once again i’m being punish for an unemployment crime i did’nt commit. Four hours of interviews last week led to me getting hired, that led to 16hrs of work,that was reported within the rules. I did everything right.

    1. Please register with PAcareerlink and attend the RESEA orientation as required and take the necessary documents with you. Then
      begin an active job search. The state wants to see this activity and is done in order to receive your benefit compensation.

      Take care

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