Unemployment Benefits for Every State in the U.S.

Unemployment Benefits for Every State in the U.S.

Deskera Content Team
Deskera Content Team
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

The covid-19 pandemic has bought a sudden disruption in the job life of many professionals across the world. While many employers had to lay off talented employees, many business were shut down abruptly. To ensure sustainable living, many states in the United States of America started giving unemployment benefits to help people affected from the pandemic have enough money for living. It was termed so to help the individuals live their life normally in these gruelling times and assist them to get the life back on track.

Let us understand what these unemployment benefits were through this blog. We are going to cover the topics listed below in this blog -

  1. What are Unemployment Benefits?
  2. Why are these unemployment benefits necessary?
  3. What are the different causes of unemployment?
  4. What is the eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits?
  5. How to apply for the state unemployment benefits?
  6. Why are the unemployment benefits so different in every state in the U.S.?
  7. Conclusion
  8. Key points

What are Unemployment Benefits?

According to the definition, unemployment benefits or unemployment insurance is the advantage given to individuals who have lost their job without any fault of their own. This could be due to multiple reasons such as -

a. Natural calamity

b. Unprecendented medical pandemic like Covid-19

c. Fire at the business location

d. Sudden shut down of the company by the businessman for various reasons

The Department of Labor is responsible for handling and overseeing this insurance program for various professionals working in different sectors in America. It ensures that the different businesses comply with each state governments administrative rules in a proper manner. Furthermore, it helps the state government decide on the eligibility criteria, amount of insurance benefits as well as the duration for which it needs to be given to the individual.

Why are these unemployment benefits necessary?

The pandemic Covid-19 brought staggering changes in the way businesses function across the world. It caused millions of people to loose their job and have the only option of seeking unemployment benefits from the state government. As the whole world is trying to get back to normalcy again, it has been observed that the unemployment rates are still very high and there is a huge demand for benefits from the federal as well as state government.

The federal government of America had passed various types of bills that were especifically aimed at offering the unemployed American individuals with various unemployment advantages to give them social security. Apart from the state advantages, there were several other enhanced federal unemployment benefits offered to the unemployed people to assist them stabilize their life

What are the different causes of unemployment?

Though these unemployment benefits is for people who have lost their job as they had been removed by the business owner, let us understand the different causes which can leave a professional jobless apart from the pandemic situation. The different causes of an individual losing his job are as follows -

a. Cyclical unemployment

b. Structural unemployment

c. Frictional unemployment

Cyclical unemployment is the unemployment in which there is a huge gap between demand and supply. It is also known as demand-deficient unemployment. It means that the number of jobs available in the market is comparatively less whereas the applicants are more. It is seen at times when there is a huge recession phase going on in different industries in the market. According to the available information, it happens when the consumer demand falls thus affecting company profits. It coerces them to lay off the employees from business organisations and other work locations thereby increasing the demand for unemployment benefits.

The structural unemployment has been said to be of involuntary and a long-term. It is induced when there have been significant technological advances in the sector and when the businessman decides to outsource a part of his product lifecycle for timely delivery to the customers. The advancements in technology in the current era has brought substantial changes in the jobs of employees and are more proficient for the businessmen due to less errors. It assists to reduce the payroll costs for employers and ensures large profits for the business. Outsourcing rawmaterials, packaging techniques and delivery services to third party business service providers have compelled the business owners to remove the people working in this sector from their organization. These employees are then forced to opt for unemployed benefits from the government or secure a job in some other sector such as call centers or with the suppliers/ vendors in the area.

Frictional unemployment happens when the employees have to move to different locations to find a job of their type. This is considered to be a temporary form of unemployment as the condition is valid for the individuals only until they get their jobs. This type of unemployment is also applicable for school or college graduates who have just finished their degree and are looking for job. These individuals can apply for jobs through job portals or connecting with the HR professionals after reading the job description given in advertisements for vacancies. An employee who had left the job position for some personal reason such as caring of older relatives in the family or for raising children can be also counted under frictional unemployment.

What is the eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits?

The eligibility criteria to qualify for the unemployment benefits varies from state to state in America. According to the U.S Department of Labor, an individual wanting to seek them must satisfy the following conditions -

1. Unemployment through no fault of own: The employee who wants these advantages must be unemployed by the small businessman or entrepreneur because of an enterinal factor. It could be lay off of multiple employees from the organization or a furlough. An important point here to remember is if the employee has decided to resign or quit from the company or is fired from the job due to inappropriate conduct at the workplace, he would not be eligible for unemployment benefits from the state or federal government. The only exception is cases such as wrongful termination or constructive discharge which resulted in the unemployment of the employee.

2. Satisfy the state requirements: An employee who has worked for a specific long-term job or earned definite wages during a set period of time but lost it unexpectedly can apply for unemployment benefits if he meets the state’s requirement for this insurance.

Apart from the 2 conditions given above, an employee who has no job has to meet the state criteria by specifying his earnings requirements, type of job loss and the number of hours he worked for the organization or small business owner to be eligible for state benefits. The easiest way an individual can check whether he is entitled for unemployment benefits from the state government is by consulting a professional agent from the state unemployment office. With proper research and accurate information, an individual can understand what type of weekly benefits or waiting period he would have to receive the unemployment benefits from the state government.

How to apply for the state unemployment benefits?

In order to receive this insurance from the state government, an unemployed individual needs to follow a set procedure to avail the unemployment benefits. He needs to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where he was employed for job. This can be done with telephone or online. Here is a list of steps an individual should do once he gets unemployed from the company -

1. Contact the State Unemployment Insurance (SUI) program as soon as you have lost the job that is have become unemployed.

2. File a claim in the state where the individual has worked. If he has worked in multiple states, then he can file for this insurance in the state he is currently residing in.

3. Provide the address of the former employer. In addition, you would be required to give the time period for which you were employed with him. It is important to give accurate and complete details when you are applying for the unemployment benefits claim to the state government.

4. According to available data, an unemployed individual would receive his first check after two or three weeks of filing of the application

After the individual has filed his claim for unemployment, the state can either accept or reject it. If the form gets accepted, he would receive the unemployment benefits in his bank account with immediate effects of 2 to 3 weeks. However, if the claim gets denied or the state government asks for additional information apart from the one mentioned in the claim, he can file an unemployment appeal to explain the situation in the court room’s hearing. Usually, the individual will receive a letter which will tell him about the date and time of hearing and is carried out over the phone.

Why are the unemployment benefits so different in every state in the U.S.?

Every state has a different calculator to determine the unemployment benefits given to the concerned individuals pnce they have become jobless. Each state government is responsible to set an unemployment tax rate which provides funds for the unemployment insurance. In addition to this, they decide the payment amount, duration for which the applicant can get these benefits and what is the eligibility criteria for the same.

There is a vast difference in the unemployment benefits offered in the different states in America because it is intentionally given by the state government and depends on who needs it. It is calculated on the cost of living required for that area and the basic income of a working individual. It means if the unemployment benefits and the wages received are inversely proportional to each other. For instance, if an individual’s income is low that means less than 30,000 dollars per annum then half of his weekly wages get replaced by unemployment insurance. On the contrary if the income is higher, then replacement income becomes less for insurance. The state government does not provide 100 percent of the old income as unemployed benefits to the people as it would force them to be lazy and not do anything for living.  The local unemployment rate in the state varies from the national unemployment rate which is the main reason for the difference in unemployment benefits offered.

The unemployed individuals can receive these benefits by contacting the state government offices which are listed below -



Phone Number(s)



Alabama Department of Labor




Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development




Arizona Department of Economic Security




Arkansas Department of Workforce Services




California Employment Development Department




Colorado Department of Labor and Employment




Connecticut Department of Labor




Delaware Department of Labor

New Castle County: 302-761-6576

Other Areas: 1-800-794-3032


District of Columbia

District of Columbia Department of Employment Services




Florida Department of Economic Opportunity




Georgia Department of Labor




Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Oahu: 808-586-8970

Hilo: 808-974-4086

Kona: 808-322-4822

Maui: 808-984-8400

Kauai: 808-274-3043



Idaho Department of Labor




Illinois Department of Employment Security




Indiana Department of Workforce Development




Iowa Workforce Development




Kansas Department of Labor




Kentucky Career Center Office of Unemployment Insurance




Louisiana Workforce Commission




Maine Department of Labor




Maryland Department of Labor




Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance




Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity




Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Twin Cities Area: 651-296-3644

Greater Minnesota: 1-877-898-9090



Mississippi Department of Employment Security




Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations




Montana Department of Labor and Industry




Nebraska Department of Labor




Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation

Northern Nevada: 775-684-0350

Southern Nevada: 702-486-0350

Rural Areas and Out of State Callers: 1-888-890-8211


New Hampshire

New Hampshire Department of Employment Security



New Jersey

New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

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

New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions



New York

New York Department of Labor



North Carolina

North Carolina Department of Commerce



North Dakota

North Dakota Job Service




Ohio Department of Job and Family Services




Oklahoma Employment Security Commission




Oregon Employment Department




Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry



Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources



Rhode Island

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training



South Carolina

South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce



South Dakota

South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation




Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development




Texas Workforce Commission



U.S. Virgin Islands

U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Labor




Utah Department of Workforce Services

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 Department of Labor




Virginia Employment Commission




Washington Employment Security Department



West Virginia

Workforce West Virginia




Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development




Wyoming Department of Workforce Services



Source: https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/unemployment-insurance#:~:text=Each%20state%20sets%20its%20own,Meet%20work%20and%20wage%20requirements.

Special circumstances and unemployment benefits

The eligibility criteria for special circumstances plays a key role in deciding whether the individual can receive unemployment benefits. Let us check these cases -

1. If the employee is fired from the job he would be eligible to get these benefits if the reason for removal by employer is not just and if the state government considers you valid for the same.

2. If the employee has quit the company for a good cause, he would be considered for receiving the benefits from the state government.

3. Freelancers or self-employed benefits cannot take these benefits unless their business is incorporated with some other organization and the parent company pays into unemployment.

4. Usually most states offer partial benefits to part-time workers if they have been out of job for no fault of theirs.

5. Pregnant women and new mothers are considered to be eligible for unemployment benefits.

The prime condition for collecting these benefits is the individual must be willing to work again once he receives an opportunity for job. He should show readiness and availability to work once there is vacancy for the position he is interested to work in.


The government of America and state governments offer unemployment benefits to individuals who have been out of job for no fault of theirs. This is provided to ensure a sustainable living for the individual. A person can file for the benefits on the state’s unemployment benefits website and claim for it after filling the required information. It requires two to three weeks for the claim to process.

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Key points

1. Unemployment benefits are given to those individuals in America who have been removed from their job for no fault of their own.

2. The reasons for removal of employees by business owners can be different such as business loss, unexpected pandemic situation like Covid-19, natural calamity, sudden shut down of the company of fire at the workplace.

3. The federal and state government offer unemployment benefits that is insurance to the individuals who have lost jobs to ensure a proper living for them until they get another work.

4. The different causes of unemployment include cyclical unemployment, structural unemployment and frictional unemployment.

5. A person who has been unemployed can file for unemployment benefits with the state government. He needs to file the form by filling the details such as previous employer, period of unemployment and his wages. As per the procedure he would receive the response for this application within 2 to 3 weeks. If the application is denied, the person can request for a hearing which happens through phone at a fixed time on the pre-decided date.

6. Before applying for this unemployment insurance to the state government, the individual must check all the eligibility criteria. Every state has its own amount fixed based on the area and cost of living of individuals residing there.

7. Freelancers or self-employed individuals are not eligible for availing this opportunity unless they have been incorporated by some other business owner and he has a provision to give these benefits.

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