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Unemployment Benefits

Need to apply for Unemployment Insurance?

Unemployment Insurance is a joint state-federal program that provides cash benefits to eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program, but all states follow the same guidelines established by federal law.

In general, benefits are based on a percentage of your earnings over a recent 52-week period, and each state sets a maximum amount. Benefits are subject to federal and most state income taxes and must be reported on your income tax return. You may choose to have the tax withheld from your payment.

December 2020 update: New law passed in December 2020 adds both money and extra weeks to unemployment benefits.

  • Extra $300. Everybody who currently qualifies for unemployment benefits will automatically receive an additional $300 per week under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefit, which will be paid for 11 weeks, starting at the end of December through March 14.
  • Extra 11 weeks. The new law also adds an extra 11 weeks to the total number of weeks people can collect unemployment benefits. This is on top of the 13 week extension that had been added by the CARES Act in March 2020, and applies to anyone receiving either state unemployment benefits or pandemic unemployment assistance. If your benefits have already run out, check with your state’s unemployment insurance program to find out if your benefits will be automatically reinstated, or if you need to do anything.
  • Extra $100 for some self-employed individuals. States may also begin offering an additional federal benefit of $100 per week to people who have earned at least $5,000 a year in self-employment income, but don’t receive the self-employment version of unemployment benefits (called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) because they also had a wage-earning job that made them eligible for state unemployment benefits. States have to reach an agreement with the federal government to offer this benefit, so check with your state’s unemployment insurance program to find out if you qualify. If you do, the extra money would be added to the extra $300 weekly benefit, and would also end on March 14.

Learn more about if you might be eligible, or select the state where you worked to apply and learn details of your state's program. You’ll find website links and/or phone numbers to file and learn more about eligibility, benefits, and other questions you might have.