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Employee Benefits

Better Benefits for the Unemployed

Qualified filers get an extra $25 a week.

The stimulus increases weekly unemployment benefits by $25 through 2009. The increase is automatic; people who are collecting unemploy­ment won't need to take any extra steps to boost their benefits.

Plus, you're entitled to a tax break. Unemployment benefits are usually subject to federal income tax, but the first $2,400 in unemployment benefits in 2009 will be tax-free.

The bill also lengthens the period for applying for the emergency unemployment-compensation program until December 31. That program provides up to 33 weeks of extended payments if you exhaust your regular benefits. Contact your state unemployment-benefits office for more information.

See More From the Stimulus Guide

The New Stimulus Tax Credit

This tax break puts up to $400 in your pocket.


New Car Sales-Tax Deduction

Car buyers have till the end of the year to grab this above-the-line deduction.

New Homebuyer Credit

Take up to 10% off your purchase price.

Health-Care Subsidy for the Unemployed

Now there's extra help for paying COBRA coverage.

AMT Tax Relief

Taxpayers get a one-year fix on the alternative minimum tax.


College Aid Gets Fresh Funding

Rather than introduce big new ideas, this bill mostly replenishes underfunded programs and increases amounts available to families.