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Millionaires on unemployment

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Monday, October 8, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

Working Americans pay for unemployment insurance, so should there be an income cap on who can claim it? The Congressional Research Service reported that 2,362 households with an annual income of $1 million or more received unemployment assistance in 2009, causing some lawmakers to erupt in outrage.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., wrote to Bloomberg: "Sending millionaires unemployment checks is a case study in out-of-control spending. Providing welfare to the wealthy undermines the program for those who need it most while burdening future generations with senseless debt."

The report says the millionaire households receiving unemployment represent 0.02 percent to 0.03 percent of all taxpayers who report receiving it. In addition to the millionaire households, more than 120,000 households with incomes between $200,000 and $500,000 claimed unemployment in 2009 and more than 825,000 households earning between $100,000 and $200,000 claimed it.

At issue for Congress is the extension of unemployment benefits "at a time when the federal government and the states face serious budget constraints," according to the report. In the second quarter of this year, more than 4.6 million people filed initial unemployment claims and 1.1 million people saw their benefits run out.

In February 2009, Congress expanded the time period states could pay unemployment benefits, from 26 weeks to a maximum of 99 weeks. In the fiscal year that just ended Sept. 30, the federal deficit is projected to be $1.1 trillion, leaving lawmakers scrambling for reductions. One idea is to restrict or eliminate unemployment benefits to high-income earners.

Do you agree with some members of Congress that one way to reduce the deficit is to eliminate unemployment benefits for high-income earners? And at what income level would you draw the line?

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102 Comments
Jeffrey Melendez
October 09, 2012 at 9:47 pm

It's the law. Why can't millionaires get unemployment? They pay taxes too. They are just smarter with the money they have and have worked harder. Stop Hating! I find it funny that crooked politicians are outraged. What idiots.

filmel
October 09, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I am sure that an unemployed millionaire will have the same bills to pay (probably larger) than any other unemployed insured person. What's with this discretionary treatment..Ask the senator if he is willing to give up his senatorial pension because he is a millionaire.

Sharon
October 09, 2012 at 7:35 pm

The employer pays the UI tax not the employee. Those wealthy folks that are receiving UI benefits have to apply for them. Greed..I think so.

L M Ward
October 09, 2012 at 7:33 pm

FYI Unemployment Insurance is paid for by employers, not employees. It is paid into a trust fund for the state the work is performed in. In the past four years or so, what is paid into by the employers is not enough to cover the benefits paid. So it falls to the states and federal government to make up the difference. I agree wholeheartedly there should be a limit in place.

Gerri
October 09, 2012 at 7:19 pm

If you pay into a system for your entire working life and you lose your job, then you should be entitled to unemployment no matter what your earned income was. There is already a cap on how much is paid out and that doesn't amount to much for high income earners to cover basic subsistence. People are losing well-paying jobs in droves and going under.

Mike
October 09, 2012 at 7:05 pm

If they Pay into it then they should get money out of it if unemployed.

If they are not eligible to receive unemployment then they CAN NOT be required to pay money for it >>>

Moi Deux
October 09, 2012 at 7:04 pm

If the amount of income upon which unemployment insurance is based determines the premiums, then one should get the benefit regardless of the household income. I say this as one who makes wayyyyy less than $1 million/year but who recognizes fairness. If someone has paid for the benefit equitably they should receive the benefit for which they have paid.

Jeanne
October 09, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Just one more comment. The company and anyone that works pays into unempoyment insurence. Like all insurences thare has to be a clam before anyone can get any money from it. In that case no one gets any of the money thats been payed.

Jeanne
October 09, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Well look everyone that works pays into unemployment. And if a millionaire works, they also pay into it. So was to say that they don't pay unempoyment to them, they make it that if you have a net egg you can't draw it either. Whats to stop them at that. I think that if anyone works and pays into it they should be able to draw it. And if a millionaire has a job that they are paying into it, that says something about this person. They work when they don't have to. And if they pull this off what makes you think you or me will get the money we won't.

Moi
October 09, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I am sick of all who thing because someone makes a good living they are not entitled to what is their right. Unemployment is paid by both the employer and the employee every pay day. If you do not want these individuals to receive unemployment then don't take it from their checks. It is not how much you make but what you do with it. Every working individual should be saving. However, things can and do happened.