Skip to comments.2,362 Millionaires Got Unemployment Benefits
Posted on 08/13/2012 4:07:44 PM PDT by Sopater
There were 2,362 people who earned a million dollars or more in taxable income in 2009 and who also received federal unemployment benefits that year, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. In fact, these millionaires collectively raked in more than $20 million in unemployment benefits.
The Congressional Research Service report--Receipt of Unemployment Insurance by Higher-Income Unemployed Workers (Millionaires)--was published on Aug. 2 and was based on the most recent data available from the Internal Revenue Service.
Among tax filers with AGI [Adjusted Gross Income] of $1 million or more, 2,840 reported receipt of unemployment benefit income in 2008 and 2,362 tax filers reported receipt of unemployment benefit income in 2009, the CRS reported.
The CRS reported that millionaires received $20.8 million in federal unemployment benefits in 2009, up from $18.6 million in 2008. That averages out to $8,806 in unemployment benefits per millionaire.
Unemployment insurance is a joint federal-state program and is funded by a payroll tax assessed against all workers. In the four years preceding 2012, according to the Tax Foundation, the unemployment insurance system was in the red. "Between 2008 and 2011, $174 billion was paid in unemployment taxes while $450 billion was paid out in benefits, a gap of $276 billion," the Tax Foundation said.
Department of Labor regulations require that unemployment benefits must be paid to all unemployed workers regardless of their income.
"This requirement is based upon a 1964 U.S. Department of Laobr (DOL) decision that precludes states from means-testing to determine UC [unemployment compensation] eligibility," the CRS said in its report.
"Under this interpretation, federal law requires entitlement compensation to be determined from facts or causes related to the individuals state of unemployment," said CRS. "Thus, the DOL requires that states pay compensation for unemployment to all eligible beneficiaries regardless of their income level because individual or household income would not be considered to impact the fact or cause of unemployment."
In addition to the 2,362 people with adjusted gross incomes of $1 million or more who got unemployment benefits in 2009, there were also 8,335 people with incomes between $500,000 and $1 million who received benefits and 120,227 with incomes between $200,000 and $500,000 who received benefits.
On July 17, House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer said that unemployment benefits along with food stamps were the two most stimulative things the government could do for the economy.
"If you talk to economists, they will tell you there are two things that are the most stimulative that you can do--ones unemployment insurance, the others food stamps, okay? said Hoyer.
Why is that? Hoyer said. Because those folks who receive those resources must spend them. And theyll spend them almost upon receipt. Most economists with whom I talk believe that those with significant discretionary income, that thats not the case.
A million dollars isn’t all that much but still, they shouldn’t be getting unemployment.
Remember after Katrina, the department of labor said that anyone in New Orleans who was old enough to work could apply for unemployment even if they couldn’t prove that they had ever worked.
I wonder if NFL coaches and players file for unemployment when they get fired.
If uninsurance worked the way it’s supposed to — as insurance — then there would be no problem with this. Doesn’t matter what you make, if you pay into the system and lose your job, you get the benefits (e.g., insurance payout).
But, with all of the extensions/etc, uninsurance has become little more than another form of welfare, so there should be some level of means-testing (certainly enough to weed out high earners like this).
This points out that unemployment is an insurance program, not a social welfare program. If you pay in, you get money out. Just like Social Security. Whether it should be that way or not is another question. Perhaps all these programs should be means tested. But as everyone points out, that can cause issues too. Why should you not get money out of the program you paid into just because you are frugal and don’t waste your money?
If they means test this, they will means test social security and medi-care.
When you don’t means test, of course this happens; especially in the era of Obama. So this article is a thinly veiled promotion for means testing.
I'm pretty sure the answer is yes for players. One of my friends has a son who is a marginal NFL player, (tight end/h-back/special teams blocker) has been on 6 different teams in 5 years. I believe he's collected unemployment in 4 different states.
a million in net worth isn’t that much... earning a million is a year is a lot.
Exactly right. I got unemployment beneftis for 78 weeks and technically can reapply for 10-13 more weeks.
Were any of them non-Union?
Absolutely NOT! If you are going to force me or my employer to buy unemployment insurance, then I am damned well going to collect should I become unemployed.
If you force me to pay in, and then means-test me out of collecting, then you are STEALING from me.
Better to allow people to opt out.
“”Just one of the many problems with our gov’t handing out money to everyone who asks. “””
Employers, like me, are forced to pay into the fund. We must pay a percentage of wages paid out. If a guy made a million bucks or a hundred bucks, I still have to pay in on them.
They are entitled to the insurance money no matter how much they earned. I don’t see a problem with a millionaire collecting since I had to foot the bill anyway.
The Congressional Research Service report—Receipt of Unemployment Insurance by Higher-Income Unemployed Workers (Millionaires)—was published on Aug. 2 and was based on the most recent data available from the Internal Revenue Service.
Things about these (evil) millionaires:
- They have paid a disproportionately high share of income taxes for many years
- They paid more in taxes than most people make, even if you count the unemployment benefits received as a tax credit
- They met all the qualifications to receive these benefits
Presumably these folks are smarter than average - Would you expect them to just donate these funds back to the treasury? Really?
And the point is...?
They paid into the system - or more accurately their employers paid into the system by virtue of the work that these people had been doing - so they should be entitled to the benefit.
That’s how it was designed by our government so it must be the way it was intended.
Also, they paid a lot of money into the general treasury based on their $ million incomes. We should be thankful for that.
Too bad they lost their jobs and that tax revenue went to zero, but that’s how it goes in a tough economy. With higher unemployment you get lower tax revenue. Maybe our current government can do something to encourage more high paying jobs so we can get that revenue back up?
If they paid it in, they have a right to get some back. Period! Provided they meet the qualifications.
You SHOULD get unemployment insurance, regardless how “rich” you are. The qualification is you lose your job, not if you are poor. Poor people who never worked a day in their life should not get insurance... but rich people who have paid handsomely into the system should definitely get it back... they put money into it when they could.
This is similar to the social security. If you have made good decisions in your lifetime (and come out ahead with millions in the bank), why shouldn’t you get the money back that you have put in? Why should poor fools who made bad (economic) decisions all their lives get a free handout? If anything, cut social security from the poor fools and give to the rich... at least the rich will invest back, rather the poor will waste in lottery/gambling/drugs/cigs/combination.
This is an anti-rich story to make you feel rage towards those who have become rich.
Unemployment is money that is paid to both the state & the Feds by the EMPLOYER.
That money is paid regardless of the total gross earnings on each employee up to a threshhold.
When a company lays off people, it is the business of the company.
It isn’t the fault of the employee that they get laid off due to cutbacks.
They are entitled to their unemployment, just the same as the lowest paid janitor.
This is another chop at people who have worked hard and suceeded.
The payments employers made were based on a formula the Government dreamed up and demanded they pay before TSHTF.
The Feds unilaterally decided to force the States to borrow from the Feds to pay for a new Federal largesse of additional weeks and months of “benefits” to the unemployed.
The State governments also thought providing “free money” was a grand idea!
Now guess who actually gets to pay for the “State” debt to the “Feds” for the humanitarian largesse?
That would be the private employers.
And guess who is not hiring?
He paid into the system when he was working. He can draw on it when he becomes unemployed. That’s how it works. OK, so if you hit lotto or your rich uncle dies, etc. maybe you shouldn’t file a claim. Perhaps many people did not, I don’t know.
But it’s pretty amazing how the entire dem/left program seems to be based on taking away money from those who have earned it and giving it to those who have not.
And they are d*mn proud of it, too.
Social Security operates as a welfare program rather than insurance because its benefits are not proportional to the amount paid in. If you earned at the cap for your entire career and thefore paid the maximum SS tax you would only get 33% more than someone who earned and paid half as much.
It is not true that, if you paid in, you get paid unemployment benefits: my husband is self-employed and must pay a sizable chunk into unemployment regularly. Because he is self-employed, he is barred from ever collecting any benefits.
The money employers pay is a percentage of the wages, isn't it? Are the payments capped at a certain wage level? If not, these guys' employers paid in a whole bunch of money for their unemployment insurance. (From each according to his ability,...)
To deny them legitimate insurance benefits based on their other income is just flat wrong. (...To each according to his needs.)
Small farmers can easily earn a million dollars or more in taxable income (gross), when their crops are sold. Then they have to turn around and pay most of that right back out to repay loans for farm equipment, seed, fertilizer and pesticide, as well as taxes and rent.
Often with a more than million dollar gross, they will net under $40,000.
While farmers are a good way to illustrate this, how about doctors, who might earn a million dollars gross, but have to pay half of that in malpractice insurance, and a big chunk in employee wages, and oh yes, repay enormous student loans.
The same problem applies to a lot of small businessmen who are reliant on a big gross, because they have big expenses that must be met.
Employees who gross over a million may also have a relatively low net, again with big drains on their cash as soon as they earn it.
Offensive. I have had many employment gaps and refuse to file.
“”””It is not true that, if you paid in, you get paid unemployment benefits: my husband is self-employed and must pay a sizable chunk into unemployment regularly. Because he is self-employed, he is barred from ever collecting any benefits.”””
I’ve paid on myself for over 30 years and I cannot collect a dime.
And since hussein decided unemployment should be given out for 99 weeks instead of the usual 26, I am expecting we employers will have our rates increased dramatically to pay the difference.
Another reason why I cut way back on my hiring. I’m tired of being the revenue collector for the government.
“If you have made good decisions in your lifetime (and come out ahead with millions in the bank), why shouldnt you get the money back that you have put in?”
Because you’re stealing from others? Stealing is wrong whether or not you are the beneficiary.
Unemployment insurance and social security should be optional, not mandatory. Period.
“”Offensive. I have had many employment gaps and refuse to file.”””
Why would you turn down money that is rightfully yours?
I'd bet your left nut.
My pop paid SSI DOUBLE for I can't count how many years....because he was self-employed..NEVER saw a dime of it.....
I've paid double for many years myself....
That said,....I've no problem with folks that have paid in...collecting when they need to.
THAT SAID......the FED's don't give a rat's ass what you've paid...
I don’t see it as a problem at all. They paid in just like everyone else didn’t they? Probably paid in a hell of a lot more than the average person, I bet.
Unemployment is supposed to be “insurance”, not simply an entitlement program for the unemployed. So, I don’t care if you have 20 million in the bank, if you’ve paid your “insurance” premiums, you have every right to take your payout when you qualify.
The proper thing to do, I think, is not to means test for unemployment, but to set up a new, separate program if you want to establish some long term unemployment entitlement. Obama and Congress were too lazy to do that though, so they took the easy way out and muddled up the whole system.
That’s the worst, since he’s got to pay both the employer & the employee’s share of the unemployment tax, so he’s paying double what everyone else is.
I wonder if he could just set his business up with an LLC or something, and put you as the owner, with him as an employee. You’d pay the same amount of taxes, but if you ever wanted to close the business, you could “fire” him, and maybe he could get unemployment.
“they shouldnt be getting unemployment.”
They PAID for that insurance. I suppose they shouldn’t get auto insurance payments for collisions or any other insurance payment because you think they are too rich?
“I have had many employment gaps and refuse to file.”
Well, that was stupid of you. Aproximately 3% of your wages went into that insurance pool.
You guys crack me up.
Shouldn’t you be screeching about those greedy old people and their social security “entitlement”?
But as another poster noted, big difference between 'millionaire' and some who might transact millions in business but be paid on a tight margin.
Although most farmers I know are self-employed and/or run income through Subchapter S (although you see more LLCs with farm-to-market locavore foodies), so they wouldn't draw UI anyway.
But say, a realtor would.
That's BS. These people, despite their income, had part of their wages garnished in the name of “unemployment insurance” just like everyone else.
Once they lost their jobs, they became eligible to draw down on their unemployment insurance at a rate proportional to what they contributed.
Unemployment insurance is designed to provide income to people paid into the system and who become temporarily unemployed - it was not intended as an free entitlement.
The extension of the benefits to 99 months does, however, effectively turn unemployment payments into an entitlement program.
“Because youre stealing from others? Stealing is wrong whether or not you are the beneficiary.
Unemployment insurance and social security should be optional, not mandatory. Period.”
What you propose is wealth redistribution, comrade. Right now, since you are forced to put in money, so why shouldn’t you get it back regardless of your net worth?
I agree, however, that the insurance and security should be optional so that those who can afford to put money get back their dues, not some moocher who is living off of a broken system. Until then, all those who have put in should get their dues. Anything else is wealth redistribution.
A typical southern California couple, a school teacher married to a truck driver, for example, could easily qualify as wealthy if they purchased a home in a desirable neighborhood years ago. Hard to claim they couldn’t qualify for unemployment.
Any of ‘em Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson?!!
“Perhaps many people did not, I dont know.”
I have lost employment a couple times in my life when I could have drawn unemployment and did not. At those times I was ‘too proud’ to claim it. If it were now, I would make the claim...I ‘earned’ it. And it was paid for by my employer.
I also feel very strongly that my Social Security ‘benefits’ are/were earned. My employer and I paid for the ‘benefits’ now being received. Had I been able to have that combined benefit put into a retirement account that paid real dividends, I would have much more in that account than I will ever see in what I get from Soc Sec. And there would still be a significant principle to pass on to heirs.
This would be bad for the way Govt works, of course, because there would be no FICA payments for them to steal and put into the general fund.
I wonder how many were cases of ID theft?