Q. Is it possible to collect unemployment as soon as I retire? I plan to retire the end of this year at age 61. I’ll have a pension, and I have a 401(k). I’ve never collected unemployment and I’ve worked since I got my working papers. I’m asking because a coworker recently retired and filed for unemployment.
— New life coming

A. Nice try, but nope.

It’s one thing if a worker is fired and decides to retire early instead of search for a new job.

You can only file for unemployment benefits if you get fired or laid off, said Jerry Lynch, a certified financial planner with JFL Total Wealth Management in Boonton.

“You cannot say that you want so time off and expect to get paid,” Lynch said. “It does not work like that.”

Lynch said if you have a very understanding employer, you can see if they will terminate your employment instead of you officially retiring, but that’s not honest, nor is it the best interest of your employer.

“The more claims that a company has against them [for unemployment benefits][/for], the more it increases the tax that they have to pay, so most employers will not `do you a favor’ and let you go,” Lynch said. “That may also be considered `fraud’ so I am not sure if I would even suggest it.”

Lynch said it’s terrific that you’ve always been employed, and that’s probably left you in a better position than those who have had to use the unemployment system.

“Hopefully you have taken advantage of that and you are now in a better position to retire,” he said.

Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled column for The Star-Ledger and she’s the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Click here to sign up for the NJMoneyHelp.com weekly e-newsletter. Like NJMoneyHelp.com on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.