Almost 2,400 Americans who collected unemployment benefits in 2009 resided in households with annual incomes of at least $1 million, according to a recent report compiled by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The 10-page report was published after more than a million people exhausted their unemployment benefits during the second quarter of 2012, when well over 4.5 million people filed for jobless claims.
According to the CRS report, the Labor Department requires states to disperse unemployment payments to eligible recipients regardless of their reported income because it’s a variable that does not impact the “fact or cause of unemployment.” The 2,362 Americans with $1 million-plus income represent 0.02 percent of the 11.3 million tax filers who received unemployment benefits in 2009. Meanwhile, nearly a million households earning more than $100,000 also reported unemployment insurance income in that year.
Congress has extended unemployment benefits to a maximum of 99 weeks — over the 26 weeks offered by most states — though analysts say in practice, no state currently offers more than 79 weeks. Abolishing federal payouts of such benefits for millionaires would rescue some $20 million in the next 10 years, CRS analysts noted in their report.
Terminating unemployment payments to high earners has become a hot topic as congressional members, led largely by Republicans, scramble to curb a mounting federal deficit slated to top $1.1 trillion dollars this year. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) unveiled a bill in February 2011, the Ending Unemployment Payments to Jobless Millionaires Act of 2011, to halt federally-funded unemployment payments to individuals having at least $1 million in assets in the year previous to filing a claim. The Democrat-controlled Senate voted in support of the measure, but it was later added to another bill which has yet to pass the chamber. According to Bloomberg:
Click here to read the entire article.
Photo: Four golfers via Shutterstock