Unemployment Insurance by State

Updated September 2, 2020

The unemployment insurance (UI) helps people who have lost their jobs by temporarily replacing part of their wages. The aim is to provide them with income support during a spell of unemployment.



The unemployment insurance (UI) helps people who have lost their jobs by temporarily replacing part of their wages.

The aim is to provide them with income support during a spell of unemployment — especially for single mothers who have little to fall back on when they lost their jobs.

The basic program provides up to 26 weeks of benefits to unemployed workers, replacing about half of their previous wages, on average.

Benefits offered to unemployed workers vary greatly from state to state — from $235 in Mississippi (the lowest for a state) up to $1,234 in Massachusetts.

In some states, there are additional unemployment benefits for claimants with dependents.

For example, Massachusetts pays an additional allowance of $25 per week per child. In Rhode Island, you’ll get additional payment equal to 5% of the weekly benefit for each dependent.

To qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, you must:

  1. have lost a job through no fault of your own;
  2. be “able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work;” and
  3. have earned at least a certain amount of money during a “base period” prior to becoming unemployed.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted in March 2020, expanded the unemployment insurance system to provide relief to workers who don’t usually qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance — part-time workers, freelancers, independent contractors, and the self-employed who are unemployed because of the pandemic.

The CARES Act extended the duration of UI benefits by additional 13 weeks (through December 31, 2020) and increased payments by $600 per week until the end of July 2020.

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)

The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA), authorized through an Aug. 8 Presidential Memorandum, will provide eligible claimants in state administered unemployment Insurance (UI) programs up to $400 per week on top of their weekly unemployment benefits retroactively, starting with weeks of unemployment ending on or after Aug. 1, 2020, and ending Dec. 27, 2020 at the latest.

Featured Offer
Rated 4.7 based on 3,850+ reviews
  • Get the best offers from top lenders in one place
  • Up to $100,000 at competitive rates
  • No hidden fees, origination fees or prepayment penalties
  • Get prequalified in 2 minutes with NO impact to your credit score
  • Secured online application
Fixed APR: From 4.99%
Variable APR: From 2.69%
Min. Credit Score: 680
Min. Loan Amount: $1,000

Which state pays the most in unemployment benefits?

Eligibility for unemployment insurance, benefit amounts and the length of time benefits are determined by state law and vary depending on where you live.

The following list provides a general overview of unemployment compensation benefits in each of the 50 states including District of Columbia. 1

State Maximum Minimum Maximum Maximum
Alaska20$56$370 – $442$72 2
Connecticut26$15$649 – $724$75 3
District of Columbia26$50$444
Florida12 4$32$275
Illinois25$51$484 – $667 5$170
Iowa26$70$481 – $591 6$104
Maine26$75$445 – $667$209 7
Maryland26$50$430$40 8
Massachusetts26 9$45$823 – $1,234$384 10
Michigan20$147$362$30 11
New Hampshire26$32$427
New Jersey26$103$7137% 12
New Mexico26$82$511$50 13
New York26$100$504
North Carolina12 4$15$350
North Dakota26$43$618
Ohio26$130$480 – $647$155
Pennsylvania26$68$572 – $580$8 14
Rhode Island26$53$586 – $867$141 15
South Carolina20$42$326
South Dakota26$28$414
Tennessee 26$30$275
West Virginia26$24$424
  1. U.S. Dept of Labor, Comparison of State UI Laws. Table 3-5: Weekly Benefit Amounts.()
  2. In addition to your weekly benefit amount, a dependent allowance of $24 per dependent may be paid for up to three (3) dependents ($72).()
  3. Under Connecticut’s UI law, total dependency allowances cannot be paid for more than five (5) dependents ($75) and may never exceed your weekly benefit rate.()
  4. CBPP, How Many Weeks of Unemployment Compensation Are Available?()()
  5. If you have a non-working spouse you can receive up to $535 per week or up to $627 per week if you have a child or children.()
  6. Claimants may include up to four dependents on their UI benefit claim — up to the Max. of $559()
  7. Additional $10 per dependent per week up to ½ of the weekly benefit amounts.()
  8. You may be eligible for dependents’ allowance of $8 per dependent for up to 5 dependent children. However, the Max. weekly benefit amount, including any dependents’ allowance must not be more than $430 per week.()
  9. The maximum allowable benefit weeks for new unemployment claims drop from 30 to 26 weeks.()
  10. The amount of the dependency allowance is $25 per dependent child but no more than 50% of your weekly benefit rate. Spouses are not included.()
  11. Additional $6 per dependent and is limited to five (5) dependents.()
  12. Dependency benefits are payable at 7% of your basic weekly benefit rate for your first dependent and at 4% for each of the next two dependents and is limited to three (3) dependents()
  13. In New Mexico, dependent allowance is limited to an additional benefit of $25 per week payable for each dependent child under the age of 18 up to a Max. of two (2) dependents.()
  14. You may receive an additional $5 weekly for a dependent spouse plus $3 weekly for one dependent child. If you have no dependent spouse, you can receive $5 weekly for one dependent child, plus $3 weekly for a second dependent child. In either case, the allowance for dependents cannot exceed $8 per week.()
  15. The amount of dependency allowance is equal to the greater of $15 or 5% of your weekly benefit amount and is limited to five (5) children.()