Can I Collect Unemployment on Retirement?

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Collecting unemployment benefits helps to ease the burden of having just lost your job. But what if benefits aren't enough to pay for your ordinary expenses? You may feel like you need to draw on additional savings. If you're close to retirement, then you may draw on a 401k, IRA or some other retirement account.

Significance

Your unemployment benefit is calculated by taking your two highest-paid quarters over the last year and adding them together. Then, you divide this number by two. Finally, you multiply the resulting number by 0.0385. This number is the amount of unemployment benefit payment you receive per week.

Benefit

You may draw on your retirement account to supplement your unemployment benefit without reducing your benefit under certain circumstances. According to the Department of Labor, your unemployment benefit won't be reduced as long as you are using money that you contributed to your account.

Warning

Your unemployment benefit payment is reduced when your employer contributed to your retirement account. If you and your employer contributed, your benefit is reduced by 50 percent. If your employer made all the contributions, your unemployment benefits are reduced by the amount of your withdrawal from the retirement plan. For example, you receive an unemployment benefit of $200. You withdraw $100 from your retirement account. Half of this money was contributed to the account by your employer. Your unemployment benefits are thus reduced by $50, since this is the portion of the $100 that is considered part of your employer's contribution to your retirement. Your unemployment benefits are therefore reduced to $150. If your employer contributed the full $100, your unemployment benefits are reduced to $100.

Consideration

You should make withdrawals from a Roth IRA if possible. Roth IRA withdrawals are treated as though you are removing your contributions first, before any investment gains are withdrawn. This allows you to supplement your unemployment benefits without reducing the benefit amount. Another source of funds to look at is cash value life insurance. You may take policy loans from a life insurance policy to supplement your unemployment benefits. You may also withdraw money from a savings account or other non-retirement account without affecting unemployment benefit payments.

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