The IRS gets a little grumpy if you contribute to a Roth IRA without what it calls earned income. Usually, that means you need paid work for someone else or for your own company to make contributions to the Roth IRA. Even if you're not working, you can open a Roth IRA account. While you can't make a direct contribution to a Roth account without income from work, you can convert a traditional IRA, 401 (k) or similar for retirement into a Roth account.
If you're already retired or if you're temporarily unemployed or are experiencing a substantial drop in your income in the short term, now might be a good time to convert some retirement assets into a Roth account. However, before making that decision, make sure that the consequences are beneficial to your retirement strategy or estate plan. If your only source of income is unemployment compensation, you can't contribute to an IRA. People with traditional IRAs should start receiving the required minimum distributions when they turn 72, but there is no such requirement for Roth IRAs.
In addition, there are no income or earnings restrictions on contributions to a traditional IRA, so you can contribute to a traditional IRA and immediately convert it to a Roth IRA. This and other key differences make Roth IRAs a better option than traditional IRAs for some retirement savers; however, Roth IRAs are not available to everyone. Using this definition of compensation, if your income is above the Roth IRA limit or is zero for a tax year, you won't be able to contribute to a Roth IRA for that year.