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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

State

Unemp RateMax Weeks of BenefitsMax.Weekly BenefitsMax. DA AllowanceTotal Weekly Benefits

Alaska

7.126$370
$72$442
Alabama4.126$265$265
Arkansas3.820$451$451
Arizona4.726$240$240
California4.226$450$450
Colorado2.726$597$597
Connecticut4.426$631$75$706
Dist of Columbia5.626$425$425
Delaware3.926$330$330
Florida3.812$275$275
Georgia4.114$330$330
Hawaii2.126$630$630
Iowa2.726$573$104$677
Idaho2.921$405$405
Illinois4.326$648$170$1495
Indiana3.326$390$390
Kansas3.416$474$474
Kentucky4.226$502$502
Louisiana4.726$247$247
Massachusetts3.530$795$384$1179
Maryland4.326$430$430
Maine2.926$646$209$855
Michigan4.520$362
$362
Minnesota3.126$717$717
Missouri3.513$320$320
Mississippi4.726$235$235
Montana3.828$487$487
North Carolina4.212$350$350
North Dakota2.626$595$595
Nebraska2.726$426$426
New Hampshire2.726$427$427
New Jersey4.926$696
$696
New Mexico4.926$442$50$492
Nevada4.726$407$407
New York4.526$435$435
Ohio4.526$598$155$753
Oklahoma3.926$520$520
Oregon426$538$538
Pennsylvania4.326$561$8$569
Rhode Island4.326$566$141$707
South Carolina3.820$326$326
South Dakota3.226$352$352
Tennessee3.526$275$275
Texas426$507$507
Utah326$543$543
Virginia3.226$387$387
Vermont2.826$466$466
Washington4.726$749$749
Wisconsin2.926$363$363
West Virginia5.326$424$424
Wyoming3.726$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:

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  1. Hello, I have a question regarding DD-214s. I have been separated from the USAF as of Feb 7th 2020. I have been told multiple time frames on when I will be getting my DD-214. How can I apply for unemployment without one? Do I use my last LES, discharge orders, or W2 what is the workaround for this issue? If I could get some guidance that would be greatly apricated.

  2. So does separation from the last employer determine eligibility? Or do employers before the last also come into play? I quit a job but then started a new one, and continued to work full time for 6 months. I was then laid off because of lack of work (seasonal/landscaping) and filed for unemployment. I made more the minimum amount of money necessary with my most recent employer. However, I was told my previous employer was trying to fight my claim.

    1. Dan,

      Separation from the last employment matters. If the exit was not your fault, you can submit supporting paperwork in case of a dispute.

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