Unemployment Benefits - State by State Benefits Guide

People line up at a California unemployment office following a natural disaster.By: Michael Raphael

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about unemployment benefits. You'll also find information specific to your state.

Unemployment Benefits By State

Every state has a maximum weekly wage that they distribute to eligible claimants. Some states will provide a weekly allowance for your dependents. The majority of states pay benefits at a maximum of 26 weeks with Massachusetts being the exception at 30 weeks, and Florida and North Carolina at 12 weeks.

The table below is there to give you an idea of the maximum unemployment benefits one could receive weekly, broken down by state. Also, each state's unemployment site is hyperlinked.

(The numbers as of 03/23/2020) 

                                                               Benefits By State

StateMinimum Weekly BenefitMaximum Weekly BenefitMaximum Weeks
Alabama$45$27526
Alaska$56$37026
Arizona-$24026
Arkansas$81$45120
California-$45026
Colorado$25$61826
Connecticut-$631 +$15/dependent (max 5)26
Delaware$20$40026
Florida-$27512
Georgia$44$33014
Hawaii-$64826
Idaho-$41026
Illinois-$471, $561 (w/spouse) $648 (w/dependents)26
Indiana-$39026
Iowa-$481, up to $591 (w/dependents)26
Kansas$48816
Kentucky$39$55226
Louisiana-$24726
Maine-$410 +$10 per dependent26
Maryland$50$43026
Massachusetts$82330
Michigan$362 +$6 (with dependents)20
Minnesota$74026
Mississippi$30$23526
Missouri$32020
Montana$48726
Nebraska$44026
Nevada$42726
New Hampshire$42726
New Jersey$71326
New Mexico$86$46126
New York$50426
North Carolina$35012
North Dakota$63326
Ohio$480 , $647 (w/dependents)26
Oklahoma$52026
Oregon$53826
Pennsylvania$573 + $8/wk/dependent26
Rhode Island$56626
South Carolina$32620
South Dakota$35226
Tennessee$27526
Texas$69$52126
Utah$49626
Vermont$46626
Virginia$60$37826
Washington$79026
West Virginia$42426
Wisconsin$37026
Wyoming$35$48926
District of Columbia$42526

How to Calculate Your Benefits

The amount of money you receive from your state depends on your weekly income prior to being let go from your job as well as the maximum amount of weekly benefits paid to each worker. In most states, you're compensated for half of your income up to a certain maximum. It would be $790 if you live in Washington state, for example.

Each state uses its own formula to calculate benefits. Unemployment benefits are intended to partially replace your income. The amount of money your state sends you every week depends on how much you used to earn. Many states take an applicant's highest paid calendar quarter of the base period and use it as a starting point. A base period, in most states, is considered to be the earliest four of the last five complete calendar quarters you worked before becoming unemployed. Some states accomplish this by using the two highest paid quarters of the base period. Other states will look at an applicant's prior annual earnings.

Many states have a benefits calculator on their site. 

Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits

The U.S. Department of Labor has made it more possible for states to amend their laws in order to facilitate unemployment benefits related to COVID-19. The government has expanded unemployment assistance for all states by not only increasing the amount of weeks one can be on unemployment, but also the weekly amount they would receive. Eligibility has expanded, which also helps people in the following scenarios.

  • When an employer ceases company operations temporarily that prevents employees from going to work. 
  • A person is quarantined and is expected to return to work after the quarantine is over.
  • If an individual quits or leaves employment due to risk of exposure to the virus. Also if they leave to take care of a family member.
  • Freelance and Furloughed workers

It is not a requirement for an individual to quit their job to receive benefits by federal law.