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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
eugene
October 09, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I don't understand why they cant? If they paid their taxes and going through hard times like anybody else, why can't they? If the business went out and there are bills to pay, and kids to feed. They are human beings.

debra
October 09, 2012 at 5:24 pm

All I can say is SHAME ON THEM.

Pete
October 09, 2012 at 5:18 pm

You have got to be kidding me. Millionaires getting unemployment while the rest of us have to scrimp to get by. Unbelievable!!!

Nan
October 09, 2012 at 5:15 pm

what are thay nuts thats why there is no jobs around because Daddy owns the company and son or daughter is on the payroll and thay COOK THE BOOKS SO THERE KIDS CAN HAVE A VACATION ON THE UNEMPLOYED PEOPLES MONEY

daren
October 09, 2012 at 4:25 pm

1st unless i have been misinformed unemployement is payedinto by the employerhence the no guarenty on collecting , also if one can make 1mil income they should b money wise enough to put away for that rainy day.to let them collect is 1 of the reasons we r where we r now, greed power control.

John
October 09, 2012 at 4:17 pm

this is crazy! of course they should get it! high income earners pay their taxes like everyone else, so why not? whats next?..social security?..are we gonna say "well sir,since you have been too successful in life, you dont really "need" these funds". (just my 2 cents) :)

Myrtle Miller
October 09, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I think that the rich should have saved thier money. And not have to claim in as income, when they go to the unemployment office.

Myrtle Miller
October 09, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I think that the rice should have saved thier money. And not have to claim in as income, when they go to the unemployment office.

Spitts
October 09, 2012 at 3:54 pm

I think they should be looking at the people who are collecting unemployment and working under the table, or staying home and not looking for jobs. People who make money also spend it. They too have a mortgagage, car payments etc... So when they are not working (making money) they may need assistance. Are they saying anyone with a savings accound shouldn't get unemployment until their accounts are depleted? That's just lidicrous!

Diane Quilghini
October 09, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I have worked from age 16 parttime, full time on and off mostly on, full time. I'm 67 and never collected unemployment or food stamps or any other state funded program. My salary combined with my husband's in the early years raising 2 kids, caring for gravely ill parents, never came close to a million dollar salary.
If times were tough I got another job working 2 jobs etc. My husband went to school nights and worked fulltime and somehow we did it. We have been good for a while now, but in the "salad days" we managed, why millionaires need to collect is beyond me.But it is a earned benefit of working, so I guess if the comparable pittance helps, so be it.