The state will increase the maximum benefit paid for unemployment at the start of the new fiscal year on July first. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, says the amount paid is going up about 3%.

“Every year we do a review of what they call the average annual wage for Iowans across the state, and that affects any changes that would take place in what an individual could receive for maximum weekly benefits on unemployment,” Koonce explains. “And since Iowa’s average annual wage increased for calendar year 2011, that means for our fiscal year that starts July first of 2012, the average weekly benefit for unemployment will also increase.”

The average annual wage now used to calculate unemployment benefits is $38,949. The change will result in just over $10 dollars more each week for those who earn the maximum unemployment benefit.

“You know it’s not a large change, for example, if you are a family that has two dependents lets say, it goes from 415 to 426 a week. However, if you’re on unemployment, every little big extra you get each week helps out greatly,” Koonce says. Workforce Development figures show about half those who are eligible for unemployment benefits have enough earnings to qualify for the maximum benefit.

There’s also a change for those who become disabled and can’t work. Koonce says the change for temporary total disability rises weekly to $1,498 and the amount for permanent partial disability, the maximum increases to $1,378.

Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.1% in April, and has dropped every month this year.