Here Is What To Do If You Run Out of Unemployment Benefits

The 6.9% unemployment rate in October isn’t telling you the whole story. The number of people receiving traditional unemployment benefits did fall from 7.2 million to 6.8 million, though that isn’t because they all got jobs.

The majority of states offer around six months of state unemployment benefits, which might be reasonable when we’re not in a pandemic. Previous drops in claims can partially be attributed to the fact that people are simply running out of options as they hit the 6-month mark. There is no word yet on extensions or additional benefits for 2021 for the approximately 21 million Americans receiving benefits.

Here’s what to do if you have run out of benefits

Do your research

With many Americans using up their state unemployment insurance (UI) funds, the best thing you can do to ensure you’re maximizing other benefits you qualify for is to do your research. Right now, other forms of financial aid besides UI include

[ Read: How Unemployment Works And What You Need to Get Benefits ]

Additional benefits available depend on where you live –– some states will offer more or fewer benefits for residents. So it really is up to you to find out what the requirements are for your state. You can also verify your eligibility by completing an official governmental questionnaire and visiting to filter a relief and assistance per state.

Apply for anything you still can

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extended traditional state benefits for 13 weeks –– but only if you applied for it the first time. So if you didn’t know you had to submit an application, you likely missed out on this opportunity. If you can still apply –– some states allow retroactive payments. Without congressional action, the PEUC, which provides a weekly benefits amount between $10 and $247 is set to expire by December 26. So you’ll need to apply by then. 

 [ Read: Insurance Terms to Know If You’re Filing for Unemployment Right Now ]

Extended Benefits (EB) — another form of relief — allows for 16 extra weeks of unemployment benefits. But you can only take advantage of this program after you exhaust traditional and PEUC aid. You would receive the same amount of money each week as you did for regular unemployment insurance. If you’re unsure what you qualify for, contact your State Unemployment Insurance agency.  

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) created by the CARES Act is another program that offers aid to workers who are not eligible for state benefits, like those who don’t have enough work history, part-time workers, self-employed workers and many contractors. The program provides up to $275 in weekly benefits for 39 weeks.

State unemployment extensions 

As PEUC and PUA benefits are set to expire at the end of December, many states have begun to fill in the gaps. The extended benefits programs offered by states generally pay out benefits for 13 to 26 weeks. Though there are a few outliers that have more or less. Find out what your state is offering below:

StateRegular unemployment insurance (by week)Extended benefits available
Alaska26 20 
Arizona26 13
Arkansas16 Extended benefits ended November 7*
Colorado26 13
Connecticut26 20
District of Columbia2620 
Florida126 weeks
Idaho22 NA
Indiana26 13 weeks
Maine26Extended benefits ended November 14*
Missouri2013 weeks
Montana2813  weeks
New Hampshire2613
New Jersey2620
New Mexico2613
New York2620
North Carolina126
North Dakota26NA
Puerto Rico2613
Rhode Island2620
South Carolina3010
South Dakota26NA
Virgin Islands2613
West Virginia2613

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Image Credit: Xinhua News Agency/ Getty Images

Taylor Leamey

Personal Finance Reporter

Taylor Leamey is a personal finance reporter at The Simple Dollar who covers banking, savings, mortgages, loans and credit cards. Her writing has also been featured at, and

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  • Andrea Perez
    Andrea Perez
    Personal Finance Editor

    Andrea Perez is an editor at The Simple Dollar specializing in personal finance. Prior to that she specialized in digital marketing content for online learning websites. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and media studies from the University of South Florida.