Labor and Employment

How Much Are Unemployment Benefits?

By Sachi Barreiro, Attorney, University of San Francisco School of Law

Unemployment benefits will pay only a small portion of your lost wages. Each state has a different method of calculating benefits. A common method, however, is adding up your wages in your highest-paid quarter of the year and dividing by 26. For example, if you earned $17,500 in your highest-paid quarter, you would divide that number by 26 to get $673.08.

However, states also place a relatively low cap on weekly benefits. While most states cap benefits at around $300 to $500 per week, some states pay a much higher or lower amount. For example, you can receive up to $742 per week (with no dependents) in Massachusetts, but only $235 per week in Mississippi.

How long you will receive benefits also varies by state. In most states, though, unemployment benefits are paid for a maximum of 26 weeks (about six months). To learn more, read our article on how to calculate unemployment benefits.

Go back to main Unemployment Compensation FAQ page

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