Most states offer the standard 26 weeks of maximum unemployment benefits. But a few states vary this up a bit.
Massachusetts offers up to 30, under certain circumstances.Montana provides up to 28 weeks.
Then there are the states that offer considerably less weekly availability -
Arkansas, Michigan, Missouri, and South Carolina - 20 weeksKansas - 16Florida - 12Georgia - 14North Carolina - 13
So why the big difference for this last 8 states? Is it strictly to save money, or is there some other factor I'm missing?
Also, 26 weeks equates to 6 months of benefits for unemployed workers. I'm not necessarily saying it should be more or less than that. Just wondering how and why it varies.
But I will also throw the question out there: is 6 months a long enough safety net? Too long, too short? I know during the height of the recession, congress temporarily extended maximums to as much as 73 months. That ended in 2013 though, I believe.
This is based on a number or factors the states take into account, that honestly aren't always perfectly clear. Has to due in part with current unemployment rates, how long it generally takes for people to find work, the job market in general in the state, etc. But it's also political unfortunately. Different states have different values and opinions when it comes to funding social saftety nets, and length of unemployment is no exception.
The good news is if you are collecting unemployment now, no matter what the state max is, the federal government is currently extending max weeks by for an additional 13 weeks on top of whatever your state is doing.
So that would make the average state's max of 26 weeks actually become 39 weeks.. that's almost 10 months of benefits, and 4 of those months will be at a much higher weekly benefit than usual, as the federal govt is also adding an additional $600/wk to whatever your state is offering for the first four months.