Senior’s Guide to Unemployment Insurance

Senior’s Guide to Unemployment Insurance

You will learn about:
  • Unemployment insurance agency contact information
  • Eligibility requirements to qualify for unemployment benefits
  • Different application methods to request benefits

46 min – Estimated reading time

Senior’s Guide to Unemployment Insurance

Senior’s Guide to Unemployment Insurance

senior guide to unemployment insurance

What Is Unemployment Insurance?

Unemployment Insurance (UI) provides financial assistance to individuals who suddenly become unemployed or face a reduction in work hours. It is a form of temporary income established by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and administered by individual state departments. It is meant to help individuals who have recently become unemployed or under-employed through no fault of their own. 

Seniors and Unemployment Benefits

Like working adults of any other age, senior citizens are eligible to receive unemployment benefits when they suddenly become unemployed or see a reduction of hours through no fault of their own. Even if they are retired or are of retirement age, seniors can qualify for UI benefits if they were working, lost their job suddenly and now meet the eligibility criteria in their state or territory.

To qualify for and continue receiving UI benefits, seniors must actively look for work. Those who are at retirement age, choose to retire and stop looking for work will not qualify for UI. 

Additionally, note that receiving other types of public benefits may reduce a senior’s unemployment benefit amount. A reduction in unemployment benefits may apply to seniors who get Social Security retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Each state is responsible for determining whether receiving Social Security retirement benefits has any effect on the total amount of UI benefits for which seniors can receive.

To find out if this is the case in your state or territory, refer to the contact information table below for a link to the official unemployment websites. 

For more information about retirement benefits, refer to the section “Social Security Retirement Benefits“ of this guide. 

Unemployment Insurance Contact Information Directory

LocationUnemployment Insurance WebsitePhone Number
Alabama https://labor.alabama.gov/unemployment.aspx 334-242-8025
Alaska http://labor.alaska.gov/unemployment/ 907-269-4700
American SamoaN/A684-633-4116
Arizona https://des.az.gov/services/employment/unemployment-individual 1-877-600-2722
Arkansas https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment/ 501-682-2121
California https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/ 1-800-300-5616
Colorado https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/unemployment 303-318-9000
Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islandshttp://www.marianaslabor.net/ 670-664-3196
Connecticut http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/UI-online/index.htm 1-800-956-3294
Delaware https://ui.delawareworks.com/ New Castle County: 302-761-6576
Other Areas: 1-800-794-3032
District of Columbia https://does.dc.gov/page/unemployment-compensation 202-724-7000
Floridahttp://www.floridajobs.org/Reemployment-Assistance-Service-Center/reemployment-assistance/claimants    1-800-204-2418
Georgia https://dol.georgia.gov/unemployment-benefits 1-877-709-8185
Guamhttps://dol.guam.gov/ Customer Care: 671-475-7000/1
Hawaii https://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/ Oahu: 808-586-8970
Hilo: 808-974-4086
Kona: 808-322-4822
Maui: 808-984-8400
Kauai: 808-274-3043
Idaho https://www.labor.idaho.gov/dnn/Unemployment-Insurance/Unemployment-Benefits208-332-8942
Illinois https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/individuals/UnemploymentInsurance/Pages/default.aspx 1-800-244-5631
Indiana https://www.in.gov/dwd/2362.htm 1-800-891-6499
Iowa https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/file-claim-unemployment-insurance-benefits 1-866-239-0843
Kansas https://www.getkansasbenefits.gov/Home.aspx 1-800-292-6333
Kentucky https://kcc.ky.gov/career/If-you-are-Unemployed/Pages/default.aspx 502-564-2900
Louisiana http://www.laworks.net/UnemploymentInsurance/UI_MainMenu.asp 1-866-783-5567
Maine https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/ 1-800-593-7660
Maryland https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/unemployment.shtml 410-949-0022
Massachusetts https://www.mass.gov/unemployment-insurance-ui-online 617-626-6338
Michigan https://www.michigan.gov/uia/ 1-866-500-0017
Minnesota https://www.uimn.org/   Twin Cities Area: 651-296-3644Greater Minnesota: 1-877-898-9090
Mississippi https://mdes.ms.gov/unemployment-claims/ 1-888-844-3577
Missouri https://www.mo.gov/work/unemployment/ 1-800-320-2519
Montana http://uid.dli.mt.gov/ 406-444-2545
Nebraska https://dol.nebraska.gov/UIBenefits 1-855-995-8863
Nevada http://ui.nv.gov/css.html Northern Nevada: 775-684-0350
Southern Nevada: 702-486-0350
Rural Areas and Out-of-State Callers: 1-888-890-8211
New Hampshire https://nhuis.nh.gov/claimant/login 1-800-852-3400
New Jersey https://myunemployment.nj.gov/ North New Jersey: 201-601-4100
Central New Jersey: 732-761-2020
South New Jersey: 856-507-2340
Out-of-State claims: 1-888-795-6672
New Mexico https://www.dws.state.nm.us/Unemployment 1-877-664-6984
New Yorkhttps://www.labor.ny.gov/unemploymentassistance.shtm1-888-209-8124
North Carolina https://www.nc.gov/unemployment-benefits  1-888-737-0259
North Dakota https://apps.nd.gov/jsnd/uiiaclaims/login.htm  701-328-4995
Ohio https://unemployment.ohio.gov/  1-877-644-6562
Oklahoma https://oesc.ok.gov/  1-800-555-1554
Oregon https://www.oregon.gov/employ/unemployment/pages/default.aspx 1-877-345-3484
Pennsylvania https://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx  1-888-313-7284
Puerto Ricohttps://www.trabajo.pr.gov/desempleo_en_linea.asp 787-625-7900
Rhode Island https://dlt.ri.gov/ui/ 401-243-9100
South Carolina https://www.dew.sc.gov/ 1-866-831-1724
South Dakota https://dlr.sd.gov/ra/individuals/default.aspx 605-626-3179
Tennessee https://www.tn.gov/workforce/unemployment.html  1-877-813-0950
Texas https://twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/unemployment-benefits-services 1-800-939-6631
U.S. Virgin Islandshttps://www.vidol.gov/how-and-where-to-apply/?_ga=2.27868539.637601201.1605629628-1879531287.1605629628 340-773-1994
Utah https://jobs.utah.gov/ui/home  Salt Lake and South Davis Counties: 801-526-4400
Weber and North Davis Counties: 801-612-0877
Utah County: 801-375-4067
Other Counties and Out-of-State: 1-888-848-0688
Vermont https://labor.vermont.gov/unemployment-insurance   1-888-807-7072
Virginia http://www.vec.virginia.gov/unemployed 1-866-832-2363
Washington https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment 1-800-318-6022
West Virginia https://workforcewv.org/unemployment  1-800-379-1032
Wisconsin https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/ui/  1-844-910-3661
Wyoming http://wyomingworkforce.org/workers/ui/ 307-473-3789

General Unemployment Insurance Eligibility for Seniors

senior man box with belongings General Unemployment Insurance Eligibility for Seniors

Eligibility for unemployment insurance is determined by individual state agencies, not the federal government. However, there are a few standard eligibility criteria you must meet in order to qualify for unemployment insurance: 

  • Citizenship and residency requirements
  • An approved reason for unemployment
  • Base period earnings

Citizenship and Residency

To receive unemployment insurance, you must be one of the following:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Legal permanent resident
  • Legally present non-citizen authorized to work in the U.S.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must be able to provide employment authorization documents to your state’s administrative department. See the list above for the administrative department’s website in your location. 

Approved Reason for Unemployment

You will only qualify for UI benefits if you lost your job or are working reduced hours through no fault of your own. You may be eligible if:

  • Your employer was downsizing or restructuring.
  • Your employer has gone out of business or is about to close.
  • Your job title was eliminated.
  • You had a temporary or seasonal job.
  • You could not meet your employer’s performance or production standards.
  • You were harassed by another employee.
  • The working conditions at your job were hazardous.
  • You have a medical condition.

Base Period Earnings

Your state’s administrative department will analyze your recent income to make sure you have the minimum amount of earnings to qualify for unemployment compensation. There are two main ways that state unemployment offices may calculate your earnings: the standard base period and the alternate base period.

Standard Base Period

Usually, you must have earned a certain amount of money and worked a certain length of time in your standard (or basic) base period to qualify for benefits. These minimum amounts of work and earnings vary depending on your state (see the table “Base Period Requirements by Location” for more details).

Most states define a standard base period as the first four out of the last five completed quarters from the date you file your claim. This means that your most recent earnings from the current quarter will not be counted.

Here is an example of a standard base period: 

For someone who is applying for benefits on April 1, 2021, the standard base period would be January 1 to December 31, 2020. The first four quarters would be:

  • First Quarter: January 1 to March 31, 2020
  • Second Quarter: April 1 to June 30, 2020
  • Third Quarter: July 1 to September 30, 2020
  • Fourth Quarter: October 1 to December 31, 2020

The fifth quarter would be from January 1 to March 31, 2021. This quarter would not be counted in the standard base period.

Alternate Base Period

Depending on your circumstances, you may be ineligible for benefits because you did not earn enough in your basic base period. However, you may be eligible in your alternate base period. 

An alternate base period is usually the last four completed quarters prior to the date of your UI application. This means that the wages you earned in your fifth quarter will be counted.

Some states will automatically check your alternate base period wages if you are ineligible using the standard base period.

The table below shows the types of base periods offered in each state. It also includes any rules about minimum earnings and minimum work history.

Base Period Requirements by Location

LocationBase PeriodRequirements 
AlabamaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have wages in at least two quarters

Average of two highest quarters must meet minimum

Total base period earnings must be at least 1.5 x highest quarter earnings
AlaskaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have $2,500 gross income earned over two calendar quarters
ArizonaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

First four of last five completed quarters before you became disabled if you received Worker’s Compensation and are ineligible in standard base period
At least 390 x AZ minimum wage in highest quarter. Total of other 3 quarters must be at least half of highest quarter earnings

OR

At least $7,000 in two quarters. One of these quarters must have at least $5,987.50
ArkansasFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have at least $1,300 in highest quarter

OR

Must have at least $900 in highest quarter and at least 1.25 x highest quarter earnings in total base period
CaliforniaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Updated requirements are not published. Contact EDD for updated information: https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/contact_edd.htm 
ColoradoFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned at least $2,500 in base period 
ConnecticutFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Updated requirements are not published. Contact DOL for updated information: https://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/gendocs/contact.html 
DelawareFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard) 

OR

Alternate base period
Must have earned at least 36 times your weekly benefit amount during the entire base period
District of ColumbiaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned at least $1,300 in one quarter 

Must have earned wages in at least two quarters 

Must have at least $1,950 in total base period

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter (can be up to $70 less to qualify)
FloridaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have at least $3,400 gross earnings in total base period

Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter
GeorgiaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter

Must have at least $1,134 in two highest quarters
HawaiiFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Total wages in base period must be at least 26 x weekly benefit amount. 

To determine weekly benefit amount, divide highest quarter earnings by 21
IdahoFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Must have earned at least $1,872 in one quarter

Total base period wages must be at least 1.25 x wages of highest quarter
IllinoisFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned at least $1,600 in total base period

Must have earned at least $440 without including highest earning quarter
IndianaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have earned at least $4,200 in total base period

Must have earned at least $2,500 in last six months of base period

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter
IowaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Alternate base period (contact uiclaimshelp@iwd.iowa.gov  or 1-866- 239-0843 to find out if you qualify for alternate base period)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Total base period wages must be at least 1.25 x wages of highest quarter

Must have earned at least $1,660 in one quarter and at least $830 in a different quarter
KansasFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Total wages in base period must be at least 30 x weekly benefit amount.

To determine weekly benefit amount, multiply highest quarter earnings by .0425
KentuckyFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have earned at least $1,500 in at least one quarter

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter

Must have earned at least $1,500 in base period without including highest earning quarter

Must have earned at least 8 x your weekly benefit amount in the last two quarters.

To determine weekly benefit amount, multiply highest quarter earnings by .011923 and round to nearest dollar
LouisianaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have earned at least $1,200 in total base period

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter
MaineFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned at least $1,713.58 in at least two quarters

Must have earned at least $5,140.74 in total base period
MarylandFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
If using standard base period, you must have earned wages in at least two quarters

More details here: http://www.labor.maryland.gov/employment/uischben.pdf 
MassachusettsLast four completed calendars (primary)

OR

Last three completed quarters + time between last completed quarter and your unemployment claim (alternate)
Must have earned at least $5,100 during the last four quarters

Must have earned at least 30 x the weekly benefit amount you would be eligible to receive
MichiganFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

If using standard base period, you must have earned at least $3,667 in at least one quarter AND total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter

If using alternate base period, you must have earned at least $20,458 in total base period
MinnesotaIf you apply in the first month of a calendar quarter: First four of last five completed quarters

If you apply in the second or third month of a calendar quarter: First four of last five completed quarters

OR last four completed quarters (whichever has more wages)
Updated requirements are not published. Contact Minnesota

Unemployment Insurance for updated information: https://www.uimn.org/applicants/howapply/info-handbook/contact-us.jsp 
MississippiFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have earned wages in at least two quarters. Must have earned at least $780 in highest quarter

Total wages in base period must be at least 40 x your weekly benefit amount.

To determine weekly benefit amount, divide highest quarter earnings by 26
MissouriFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have earned at least $1,500 in one quarter

Must have earned at least $2,250 in total base period
MontanaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Alternate base period
Updated requirements are not published. Contact Montana DLI for updated information: http://uid.dli.mt.gov/ 
NebraskaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned at least $4,324 in total base period

Must have earned at least $1,850 in one quarter and at least $800 in a different quarter
NevadaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least three quarters. Must have earned at least $400 in one quarter

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter
New HampshireFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard) 

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned at least $1,400 each in two separate quarters
New JerseyFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate 1)

OR

Last three completed quarters + weeks and wages up to last day of work (alternate 2)
Must have earned at least $200 per week in at least 20 weeks during base period

OR

Must have earned at least $10,000 in total base period
New MexicoFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Updated requirements are not published. Contact New Mexico DWS for updated information: https://www.dws.state.nm.us/Contact 
New YorkFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters Must have earned at least $2,600 in one quarter

Total base period wages must be at least 1.5 x wages of highest quarter. Except if highest quarter earnings are $11,088 or more. In this case, earnings in your other three quarters must be at least $5,544
North CarolinaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least two quarters

Total base period wages must be at least 6 x the average weekly insured wage during your base period. Average weekly insured wage changes and will depend on your base period.
North DakotaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Updated requirements are not published. Contact ND for updated information: https://www.jobsnd.com/contact
OhioFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned wages in at least 20 weeks of base period

Must have average weekly wage of at least $269 (before taxes and deductions) in base period
OklahomaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Updated requirements are not published. Contact Oklahoma ESC for updated information: https://www.ok.gov/triton/contact.php?ac=162&id=138 
OregonFirst four of the last five completed quartersMust have received at least $1,000 in subject wages in your base year

Must have total base year wages of at least 1.5x the wages paid in the highest calendar quarter of the base year

OR

Must have worked at least 500 hours and paid wages during the base year
PennsylvaniaFirst four of the last five completed quartersMust have earned a minimum of $116 per week for 18 weeks in your base year

At least 37 percent of the total wage must have been paid in one or more quarters other than in your high quarter
Puerto RicoFirst four of the last five completed quartersMust have worked in at least two quarters of the base period 
Rhode IslandFirst four of the last five completed quarters

OR

Last four completed quarters
Must have earned at least $2,100 in one of the base period quarters

Must have earned total base period of taxable wages of at least 1.5x your highest single quarter earnings

Must have earned total base period taxable wages of at least $4,200
South CarolinaFirst four of the last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four calendar quarters, including lag quarter wages (alternative)
Must have at least $1,092 in wages during the highest quarter of the base period

Must have earned at least $4,455 from wages during the base period

Must have total base period wages equal or more than 1.5x the wages earned during the high quarter
South DakotaFirst four of the last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

First four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the injury (only for work-related injuries)
Must have earned during at least two quarters of the base period

Must have earned at least 20 times of your weekly benefit amount in the other three quarters combined

Must have earned at least $728 in wages in the highest quarter of your base period
TennesseeFirst four of the last five completed quartersMust have earned at least $780.01 in each of two quarters in base period
TexasFirst four of the last five completed quartersMust have earned wages in more than one of the four base period calendar quarters

The wages earned in the base period must be at least 37 times your weekly benefit amount
U.S. Virgin Islands First four of the last five completed quarters

OR

Last four completed calendar quarters (alternative)
UtahFirst four of the last five completed quarters

OR

Last four completed calendar quarters (alternative)
Must have earned wages in two or more calendar quarters of your base period

Must have earned at least $3,900 during base period

Must have earned total base-period wages of at least 1.5x the wages earned in the highest quarter
VermontFirst four of the last five completed calendar quarters.(method one)

OR

Last four completed calendar quarters (method two)

OR

Last three completed calendar quarters plus current quarter(method three)
Must have earned at least $2,871 in the highest paid quarter of the base period

Must have earned at least 40 percent of the wages earned in the highest quarter in the other three quarters of the base period
VirginiaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have worked during at least two quarters of the base period

Must have made $3,000 minimum in two combined quarters of the base period
WashingtonFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have worked in the state in the last 18 months, unless you were in the military or working for the federal government

Must have worked 680 hours minimum during your base period

Must have earned wages in Washington, unless you recently left the Armed Forces
West VirginiaFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)

OR

Last four completed quarters (alternate)
Must have earned work wages in the last 18 months

Must have made a minimum of $2,200 during your base period

Must have made wages during at least two quarters
WisconsinFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have worked during at least two quarters of the base period

Made enough earnings in your highest quarter to qualify for the lowest weekly payment

The earnings in your lowest 3 quarters must be worth at least 4 times as much as your weekly payment

Total earnings during your base period should be 35 times as much as your weekly payment minimum

If you received unemployment before, you must have made at least 8 times as much as the weekly payment you received and you must have worked since the beginning of that year
WyomingFirst four of last five completed quarters (standard)Must have worked during at least two quarters

Must have made a minimum of $3,800 during your base period

Total base period earnings must be 1.4 times your highest quarter

How to Apply for UI Benefits

Depending on where you live, you can apply for unemployment insurance (UI) in the following ways:

  • Online
  • By phone
  • By mail or fax
  • In person

How to Apply Online

To apply for UI online, visit your state’s Department of Labor (DOL) website. You can find your state’s unemployment insurance website in the section “Unemployment Insurance Contact Information Directory”.

You may be required to first create an account with a username, password and PIN, which is a four-digit number. Once you have set up an account, follow the instructions for completing the online application form. 

If you are not required to create an account, there may be no way to save your progress on your application. So, you may have to complete the entire form in one sitting.

Once you have completed the required sections, you may submit the form. You should then receive a confirmation of your submission via email. 

Many states recommend that you apply online because your claim will be processed more quickly. In addition, creating an online account will make it easier to check the status of your claim or update your application if your circumstances change.

How to Apply by Phone

senior man with form and cellphone How to Apply by Phone

To apply for UI by phone, call your state’s claim center. You may not be connected to a representative immediately. However, it is important not to hang up if you want to hold your spot in line. Once you are connected with a representative, he or she will work with you to complete the application.

In some states, you may not be connected to a live representative and must complete the entire application by phone with voice command.

If English is not your first language, filing a claim by phone may be easiest. This is because many state filing numbers offer translation services. For a language other than English, you may use your keypad to select your preferred language when prompted.

Be sure to have all your personal documents on hand. This way, you will be able to complete the application more quickly and prevent delays in filing. Find a list of documents you will need in the “Information and Documents Needed to Apply” section of this guide.

To find your state or territory’s UI contact number, go to the “Unemployment Insurance Contact Information Directory” section of this guide. 

How to Apply by Mail or Fax

Some states allow you to submit a UI application by fax or mail. You can find out if your state offers a mail option by contacting its administrative department. Refer to the table in the “Unemployment Insurance Contact Information Directory” section to connect with your state’s UI website.

If you wish to apply by mail or fax, you must first download and print the application form from the DOL website for your state. 

Once you have completed the form and dated it at the bottom, mail it to the street address or fax it to the fax number specified on your state’s DOL website. These addresses may also be found at the bottom of the application.

Some states that accept applications by mail recommend that you submit the form by fax. Fax submissions are faster and more secure than mail-in submissions.

How to Apply in Person

Call your state office to find out if you can request an application appointment to apply in person. On the day of your appointment, make sure to bring all required documents and information. Refer to the section “Information and Documents Needed to Apply” of this guide to know which documents you need to provide.

At the unemployment office, you should be able to obtain, complete and submit an application for unemployment benefits.

Information and Documents Needed to Apply

When you apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI), you will need to provide certain personal documents and information. These will help you fill out the application. A UI caseworker may request to see hard copies of these documents later on. Important application documents and information include:

  • Your Social Security card or an official document that lists your Social Security Number (SSN).
  • Your Alien Registration card number and expiration date, if applicable.
  • Your driver’s license or state ID number.
  • Your mailing address and ZIP code.
  • Your phone number and email address.
  • The names and addresses of your previous employers from the last 18 months. This includes employers in other states, if applicable. 
  • Your reasons for no longer working with each employer.
  • The Employer Registration number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer. This number may be found on your W-2 forms.
  • Copies of forms SF8 and SF50, if you were a federal employee.
  • Your union hall’s name and local number, if applicable.
  • Your most recent military separation form (DD-214) if you have just separated from the service.
  • Your bank routing number and checking account numbers, if you want to use direct deposit to receive your benefits.

Weekly Benefit Amounts by Location

Your state or territory determines how it calculates unemployment benefit amounts as well as weekly minimum and maximum amounts. Benefit amounts may be calculated using one of the following:

  • Base period earnings
    • Wages earned in a specific number of quarters 
  • Quarterly earnings
    • Wages earned in a three-month period
  • Annual earnings
    • Wages earned in a one-year period

Select your state or territory in the dropdown menu below to learn how benefits are calculated and the minimum and maximum unemployment benefits you can receive each week:

LocationCalculation MethodWeekly MinimumWeekly Maximum
AlabamaUpdated method not published. Contact Alabama DOL for updated information: https://labor.alabama.gov/contacts/UCInquiryEmail/default.aspx $45/week$275/week
Alaskahttps://labor.alaska.gov/unemployment/documents/Calculating_Benefits.pdf $56/week$370/week
Arizona4% of wages in highest quarter = weekly benefit amount$119/week$240/week
ArkansasUpdated method not published. Contact Arkansas DWS for updated information: https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment/contact-unemployment-services/ N/AN/A
Californiahttps://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/ui-calculator.htm $40/week$450/week
ColoradoAverage wages in two highest earning quarters quarters divided by 26 = weekly benefit amount$25/week$618/week
ConnecticutAverage of wages in two highest earning quarters divided by 26 = weekly benefit amountN/A$667 plus $15 for each dependent (5 maximum)
DelawareAdd two highest earning quarters and divide by 46 = weekly benefit amount$20/week$400/week
District of ColumbiaDetermined by highest quarterN/A$444/week
FloridaHighest quarter earnings divided by 26 = weekly benefit amountN/A$275/week
GeorgiaAdd two highest earning quarters and divide by 42 = weekly benefit amount

If your total base period wages do not equal 1.5 x highest quarter, then highest quarter divided by 21 = weekly benefit amount
$55/week$365/week
HawaiiHighest quarter earnings divided by 21 = weekly benefit amount$5/week$641/week
IdahoHighest quarter earnings divided by 26 = weekly benefit amount$72/week$405/week
IllinoisDetermined by two highest quarters. See the table here: https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/IDES%20Forms%20and%20Publications/CLI110L.pdf 

Additional allowances for dependent children and non-working spouses
N/A$471/week for individuals

$571/week with non-working spouse allowance

$648/week with dependent child allowance
IndianaDivide total base period wages by 52. Multiply the result by 0.47 and round down to nearest whole dollar to get weekly benefit amountN/A$390/week
IowaNo dependents: Highest quarter earnings divided by 23 = weekly benefit amount

1 dependent: Highest quarter earnings divided by 22 = weekly benefit amount

2 dependents: Highest quarter earnings divided by 21 = weekly benefit amount

3 dependents: Highest quarter earnings divided by 20 = weekly benefit amount

4 dependents: Highest quarter earnings divided by 19 = weekly benefit amount
N/ANo dependents: $493 / week

1 dependent: $512 / week

2 dependents: $531 / week

3 dependents: $559 / week

4 dependents: $605 / week
KansasHighest quarter earnings x .0425 = weekly benefit amount (round down to nearest whole dollar)25% of maximum per week$488/week
KentuckyTotal base period wages x .011923 = weekly benefit amount (round to nearest whole dollar)$39/week$569/week
LouisianaAverage quarterly earnings in base period x .04. Multiply result by 1.05. Multiply new result by 1.15.$10/week$247/week
MaineAverage of wages in two highest-earning quarters divided by 22 = weekly benefit amountN/A$445/week+$10 per dependent (total dependent allowance cannot total more than half of weekly benefit amount)
MarylandBased on base period earnings + $8 dependent allowance (up to 5 dependents)

Note: If you worked full-time during all quarters in your base period, your weekly benefit amount will be around .5 of gross weekly wage.

More details here: http://www.labor.maryland.gov/employment/uischben.pdf   
$50/week$430/week (including dependent allowance)
MassachusettsAdd two highest earning quarters and divide the sum by 26. Then divide result by 2 and round down to nearest dollar = weekly benefit amount

If you only worked one or two quarters, use only one highest quarter earnings and divide by 13. Then divide result by 2 and round down to nearest dollar = weekly benefit amount

You can estimate your benefits with the calculator here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/how-your-unemployment-benefits-are-determined#unemployment-benefits-determination-calculator- 
N/A$855 /week+$25 per dependent (total dependent allowance cannot total more than half of weekly benefit amount)
MichiganHighest quarter earnings x .041 = weekly benefit amount (round down to nearest whole dollar)

+Add $6 for each dependent up to 5 dependents
$81/week$362/week
MinnesotaApproximately .5 of your average weekly wage in base period = weekly benefit amountN/A$762/week
MississippiHighest quarter earnings divided by 26 = weekly benefit amount

More details here: https://mdes.ms.gov/media/7140/Benefit_Chart1.pdf 
$30/week$235/week
MissouriAverage of wages in two highest-earning quarters x .04 = weekly benefit amount

You can estimate your benefits with the calculator here: https://labor.mo.gov/DES/Claims/calculator 
N/A$320/week
MontanaEstimate your benefits with the calculator here: http://uid.dli.mt.gov/benefits-estimator $163/week$552/week
NebraskaHighest quarter earnings divided by 13 = weekly benefit amountN/A$440/week
NevadaHighest quarter earnings x .04 = weekly benefit amount$183 / week$469 / week
New HampshireDetermined by earnings in base period$32 / week$427/week
New Jersey60 percent of average weekly wage in base period = weekly benefit amount

+Add 7 percent of weekly benefit amount for first dependent and 4 percent each for two other dependents
N/A$713/week (including dependency benefits)
New MexicoHighest quarter earnings divided by 13. Then multiply result by .535 = weekly benefit amount

+ $25 each for up to two dependents
$86 / week$511/week (including dependents)$461/week (no dependents)

Dependency allowance cannot exceed .5 of weekly benefit amount
New YorkWeekly benefit amounts are calculated differently depending on earnings.

You can estimate your benefits with the calculator here: https://www.labor.ny.gov/benefit-rate-calculator/ 
$104/week$504/week
North CarolinaTotal wages in last two quarters divided by 52 and round down to next wholedollar = weekly benefit amountN/A$350/week
North DakotaTotal of highest 2.5 quarters divided by 65 = approximate weekly benefit amount$43 / week$640 / week
OhioAverage weekly wage during base period x .5 = weekly benefit amount$135 / week$480/week (no dependents)

$582/week (1-2 dependents)

$647/week (3 or more dependents)
OklahomaHighest quarter earnings divided by 23 = weekly benefit amount$16/week$539/week
Oregon1.25 percent of your total base year gross earnings = weekly benefit amount
https://secure.emp.state.or.us/ocs/estimator/index.cfm 
$157 / week$673 / week
PennsylvaniaThe calculation is based on the earnings of your Highest Quarter.
https://www.uc.pa.gov/unemployment-benefits/Am-I-Eligible/financial-charts/Pages/default.aspx 
N/A$572/week (no spouse or children)

$5/week for dependent spouse

$3/week for dependent child (without spouse the amount rises to $5 for first child plus $3 for second child)
Puerto RicoThe amounts are the same for the Regular and Agricultural Unemployment benefit.$60/week$240/week
Rhode Island3.85% of avg. of 2 highest quarter wages in base period$59 / week$599 / week (with no dependents)

$15 minimum per dependent (max. 5 dependents)
South CarolinaHigh quarter wages divided by 13 = weekly benefit amount$42/week$326/week
South DakotaWages paid in the highest quarter of your base period divided by 26 = weekly benefits amount$28/week$428 / week
TennesseeCompare the avg. wages from two highest quarters with the current Tennessee Unemployment Insurance Benefit chart to get weekly benefit amountN/A$275/week
TexasWages paid in the highest quarter of your base period divided by 25= weekly benefits amount 
https://login.apps.twc.state.tx.us/UBS/changeLocale.do?language=en&country=US&page=/benefitsEstimator.do 
$69/week$521/week
U.S. Virgin IslandsMultiply the highest quarter base period earnings by 1/26th, but the weekly benefit amount cannot exceed the maximum limit set$33/week$552/week
UtahCompare amount of wages received during highest quarter to UT benefit schedule to get weekly benefit amount: https://jobs.utah.gov/ui/UIShared/PDFs/BenefitCalculation.pdf N/A$580/week
VermontWages paid in the two highest quarters divided by 45 = weekly benefits amountN/A$513/week
VirginiaThe Employment Commission will use the amount you earned during the two quarters of your base period with the highest earnings to determine your Weekly Benefit Amount$60/week$378/week
Washingtonhttps://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/calculate-your-benefit  $201 / week$844 / week
West Virginia*55 percent of 1/52of the median (mid-range) dollar amount of earnings in the base period

*2019 or 2020 information for West Virginia is not published. Contact WorkForce WV for up-to-date information: www.uc.workforcewv.org/Contact.aspx
$24/week$424/week
Wisconsin4% of wages in highest quarter = weekly benefit amount$54/week$370/week
Wyoming4% of wages in highest quarter = weekly benefit amount$36/week$508/week

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