Unemployment Benefits Go to Millionaires Because of a Loophole in Current Law
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Among the many Americans who collected unemployment checks during the Great Recession were thousands of millionaires who legally received jobless compensation.
People with incomes of $1 million or more are entitled to file and receive unemployment benefits — just like everyone else in the same situation. More than 2,800 millionaires were given unemployment benefits in 2008, and another 2,362 in 2009, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
The CRS noted that the 2008 recipients collectively received $18.6 million in unemployment checks, which represented just .04% of the total amount paid out. In this tight economy, though, even that creates concerns for continuing the payouts.
The latest extension of unemployment benefits, passed in February 2012, originally had a provision in it that would have taxed the amounts going to high-income beneficiaries. But that condition didn’t make it into the final bill. Since then, lawmakers have introduced several pieces of legislation in Congress to change the requirement that benefits be paid to anyone who becomes unemployed regardless of their wealth.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Vicki Baker
To Learn More:
Receipt of UI by Higher-Income by Unemployed Workers (“Millionaires") (by Donald Hirasuna, Congressional Research Service) (pdf)
Unemployment Benefits for Millionaires (by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News)
Millionaires on US Unemployment? Yes, And That’s Perfectly Legal (For Now) (by Alberto Riva, International Business Times)
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