When people think of unemployment insurance, they probably imagine laid-off factory workers, store clerks or middle managers. But according to the government, some recipients of jobless benefits during the financial crisis were millionaires.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) found that, in 2009, unemployment benefits were received by about 2,400 people who resided in households with incomes of $1 million or higher, Bloomberg noted.
Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn found that in 2009, an average of $12,333 in jobless benefits was provided to 18 households with income of more than $10 million, and 74 households with incomes between $5 million and $10 million received an average of $18,351 in unemployment insurance.
Legislation to stop unemployment benefits for people with $1 million or more in assets passed the Senate in 2011, but hasn’t been enacted yet.
The CRS noted that curtailing jobless benefit payments to residents of millionaire households would only save $20 million over the course of a decade. The national debt is currently above $16 trillion.
Members of wealthy households receiving unemployment benefits may not have been millionaires themselves, but rather dependents of wealthy individuals.
The report noted that in 2009, 11.3 million Americans noted some form of unemployment benefits on their tax returns. That year, 954,000 households with incomes north of $100,000 indicated that they had received jobless benefits.