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Unemployment Benefits Comparison by State

Updated : February 4th, 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

State

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

Alaska

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
$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
$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

$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

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

  1. I have been working as an hourly employee for the last 4 months. Currently the board of the nonprofit agency came to me and told me that I had to file a 1099 or go to part time or find a new job. I have a scheduled time that I report to work. What are the laws here in Florida about who can receive a 1099

  2. I am unemployed and currently going to a community college. How can I apply for federal assistance?

    1. Carol,

      If you’re able and available for full-time employment, you can directly go to the website of the Unemployment Office and apply.

  3. I have worked in AZ since March 2016. However, I moved lived and worked for my employer in CA since 08/02/1982. Can I apply for Cali unemployment benefits?

    1. Robert,

      You should be applying from the state where your employment was based. Employers generally remit unemployment taxes to the state where the employee is based.

  4. I have been trying for over a month to file and I still do not seem to be able to do it, but I finally got to the correct place, I think.

  5. Cumberland NJ Unemployment Center kept me on hold for 2 hours; I finally had someone answer my call, after providing my information and question regarding the status of my NJ Unemployment Claim the representative disconnected my call.

  6. Excellent list of things to help execute better. Even taking 3 or 4 of these that one does not currently utilize could help immensely.

    1. How did you calculate the total weekly Illinois benefit of $1495? Also, why isn’t Washington and Minnesota listed in your top 5 states with the highest paid unemployment insurance compensation?

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