Question of the Day: What’s the maximum unemployment benefit in your state?

Answer: See slides below for map with maximum benefits. 


  • How does your state compare with neighboring states in terms of the maximum benefit offered?
  • Unemployment benefits are typically calculated as about ½ of a workers’ salary but no greater than the statewide maximum benefit. Why do you think this benefit is typically below what a work typically makes?
  • The recent stimulus bill will pay unemployed workers an extra $600/week beyond the state unemployment benefit they will be eligible for.
    • Assume a worker earning $52,000/year or $1,000 per week loses their job and collects an unemployment benefit of $500 per week from their state + $600 per week from the stimulus bill. How will their unemployment benefits compare with what they were earning when they were working?

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers ( 

  • Each state has its own way of calculating the maximum unemployment benefit payment that a person can receive.
  • Some states, like Georgia and North Carolina, set the maximum number of weeks someone can receive unemployment insurance benefits based on the unemployment rate of the state.
  • The maximum number of weeks that a person can receive unemployment benefits ranges from 12 weeks in Florida and North Carolina to 30 weeks in Massachusetts.
  • Compared to the rest of the country, states in the Southeast tend to have lower maximum weekly unemployment payments.


Attend the virtual PD, Personal Finance in the Age of Pandemic, to learn more about managing finances through these challenging times. 

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim’s saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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