Unemployment Compensation and Benefits Checklist

If you’ve lost your job you may be eligible for unemployment tax credits and benefits.

  • Unemployment Insurance
    Unemployment Insurance  (UI) is a joint federal-state program run by the United States Department of Labor. If you have become unemployed through no fault of your own and meet other eligibility requirements, you may be eligible for up to 26 weeks of unemployment compensation. Under certain circumstances when unemployment rates are particularly high, you may be eligible for additional unemployment compensation under the Extended Benefits program, which may add up to 20 additional weeks depending on the state.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit
    You may be able to use the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to claim a tax credit if your period of unemployment has taken a big bite out of your earnings. Most of your income must be below certain limits. Those limits depend on whether you’re a single filer or are married filing jointly, as well as how many children you have.
  • Withdrawing from Retirement Plans
    In an extreme case, you may be able to withdraw money from retirement plans like IRAs and 401(k)s. Since you may have to pay a 10 percent withdrawal penalty if you are withdrawing before age 59 1/2, this route should be taken only as a last resort. However, the IRS may waive penalties for hardship withdrawals to cover costs related to unforeseen expenses, such as medical expenses or preventing foreclosure on a primary residence.

To learn ways to replace some missing income from your paycheck when unemployed, read our Supplemental Income Ideas article.


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This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and irs.gov for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.