Millionaires collect unemployment benefits

Here’s a story sure to make some folks’ blood boil.

It’s about millionaires collecting unemployment.

ABC News reports that in 2009, 2,362 millionaires received unemployment benefits, according to a study from the Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan arm of Congress. More than 1,000 who got the benefits had a household adjusted gross income of $1.5 million.

The study determined that 0.02 percent of tax filers who  received unemployment benefits that year were millionaires. Their collective haul: $20.8 million.

If you think this ain’t right, you have company.

“It sounds scandalous when you hear that millionaires are going to collect unemployment insurance,” Bill Frenzel, guest scholar at the Brookings Institute and former Republican member of Congress, told ABC News. “On the other hand, millionaires get unemployed too and have made payments into the unemployment insurance.”

Still, Frenzel said, if they made a million dollars in income the year prior, “they could probably stand being barred from unemployment this year.”

One member of Congress apparently concurs.

“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,” Sen. Tom Coburn, (R-Oklahoma), said in a statement.

17 comments Add your comment

Me Too!

October 3rd, 2012
9:09 am

“Providing welfare to the wealthy undermines the program for those who need it most while burdening future generations with senseless debt,” Sen. Tom Coburn,”

The employers pay a tax that pay for unemployment benefits. It is not welfare. The welfare is the extentions the presidents have approved at the employers expense. college trained minds simply amaze me how ignorant they are.


October 3rd, 2012
10:04 am

On this issue, I’d have to side with the people who are legally collecting unemployment. If you lose your job and you have paid into the system, it’s there to help you, regardless of your level of previous income. There is a maximum benefit in every State, so it’s not like a millionaire is getting $12,000 a week checks sent their way – they are getting the same $400+/- that a waiter or IT guy or secretary can get.

The problem with saying no to someone who made a certain amount of money is that there is a flip side, people who made less than a certain level of money. Since unemployment benefits are based on your previous stated income, those who made less are eligible for less than those who made more. You could then argue that someone who is below the poverty level should be eligible for a higher then standard tiered payment because they have a greater need – but is that fair? It gets real grey if you start putting income caps but no income floors.


October 3rd, 2012
11:26 am

this why your employeer should send the government your paycheck and the gornment send you an allowance. is this not the way of obama social justice?


October 3rd, 2012
12:52 pm

BOB From Account Temps: unemployment compensation is paid from by the employer, not the employee. This program has been around for at least 60+ years and has nothing to do with President Obama, except that he proposed that Congress extend the number of weeks the unemployed could claim benefits, given the high unemployment rate. President Obama is abiding by the law and it is Congress’ approval that makes the extensions possible.

This has nothing to do with Obama’s social justice; you are showing your ignorance.


October 3rd, 2012
1:29 pm

Unemployment benefits are NOT based on income but on previous WAGES. This means that the person was gainfully employed and the employer paid unemployment taxes. When I worked in the unemployment system, I always said: “We provide services to everyone; from the now homeless man on the corner (just because he is homeless does not mean that he has not worked) to Donald Trump (if Donald chose to apply for unemployment). This is not a welfare program. There is a cap on the weekly benefit amount. Believe me when I tell you that it does not REPLACE one’s salary. It may be enough to pay a millionaires cell phone bill so that she/he make/receive calls in their search for work.

chest fever

October 3rd, 2012
2:16 pm

It’s unemployment INSURANCE. Companies paid premiums which were held by the gov. You expect if a rich person gets into a car accident that his insurance company isn’t going to pay? Well, same thing applies when a rich person becomes unemployed. He/she benefits from the insurance. Almost everyone on it would love to get a job and they all have to be looking for work.


October 3rd, 2012
2:21 pm

Yes, the story is incorrect. Employers pay the unemployment insurance, not individuals. Don’t believe me – check your next pay stub. That said, we all indirectly pay for the unemployment insurance in the form of lower wages. As with a lot of other things, businesses just pass off costs to the consumer — or employee in this case.

As far as the millionaires, if I made a million one year, I’ve probably bought a nicer car, maybe a nicer home, put the kids in private school, etc. but still lived within my means. Now I’ve been laid off but still have those bills. The roughly $300 a week I get from unemployment isn’t going to help with the school bills or house payment. An has anyone price COBRA recently?


October 3rd, 2012
2:39 pm

Unemployment is an insurance. Employers have not opt out option. There is a premium paid every payroll. What “insurance” disqualifies you from collecting your benefit based upon your income or net worth? Auto, home, fire, health, life, disability etc. None of them. If they paid the premium and they qualify as having lost their employement through no fault of their own then they are entitled to collect the benefit. What you should be more concerned about is that Congress extended the benefits from 27 weeks to 99 weeks. The premiums were not calculated on that many weeks of eligibility. What insurance company has every extended your 12 month auto policy to 36 months and still charged you the same premium? This is why our government runs huge deficits.


October 3rd, 2012
5:41 pm

Don’t know about all 50 states but I know of two in which the employee does pay at least a portion (possibly all) of the unemployment insurance payment so “Rockerbabe” does not know what they are talking about; but that is the norm for so many people these days. Just say it someone will believe it.


October 3rd, 2012
6:07 pm

The republicans think welfare is : aid to families, food stamps, SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, MEDICAID, UNEMPLOYMENT bENEFITS, FINANCIAL AID for colleges, and much much more. Look it up. Anything that’s helps the poor in this country they feel is welfare. BUT they seem to take anything they can get…. And do not pay their fair share for taxes so they put their money in the caman islands. Look it up stupid.


October 4th, 2012
3:11 pm

I buy the rope, its time we Americans do back to our original roots of real justice!


October 4th, 2012
3:30 pm

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!! As hard as it is for those who should be getting unemployment to feed their families to think of the millioniares getting it makes me sick! I live in Iowa and I have been laid off 3 times and 2 times I didn’t apply for umemployment because I had savings and wanted other who really needed it to get be able to get it. I had no idea millionaires could be getting it.
Our government needs to get it together and I mean NOW!!!!


October 4th, 2012
11:19 pm

The extensions were the only part that was federally funded. The basic unemployment is funded through the insurance paid by employers/employees into the state fund. The amount that you receive is based on your income up to a capped benefit amount. If you become unemployed, through no fault of your own, then you’re entitled to that money. If you choose not to receive benefits, while you look for work that is your decision, but it will not affect someone else’s benefits–receiving more benefits or none at all. By the way, the rich in this country not paying their “fair share,” really? Do the math i=on how much money 35 percent of $1,000,000 is. If you want to point to Romney, his income was interest income on investments, which he paid capital gains on. Social programs cost money, the people utilizing aren’t paying much if any into them, even when they work, and I’m including people making $50,000 or so a year. The rich people in this country shouldn’t feel obligated to feed the masses. I also understand that many of them are making entirely too much money of the sweat of others, but that is a totally separate issue and should be addressed through legislation not taxation.


October 4th, 2012
11:51 pm

and then there are the ppl like me who paid into the system, lost their job, and still can’t get UI b/c their employer screwed them out of it by saying i quit instead of being let go, and since I can’t prove otherwise… (was verbally told my position had been cut, given my last paycheck, and then employer said we all quit on him, we all got screwed.) If you pay into it, shouldnt you be able to get some back if you really need it?

here’s how I look at it – a millionaire on paper may not have a million dollars in the bank. if you’re tied up in real estate investments or a small business – both of which would be suffering and struggling to pay their own bills, much less yours – you’re still as broke as the next guy. I’ve seen it happen, and I can promise you that you won’t stay a millionaire for long.

One more thing – if the media would quit using sensationalism to trick readers/viewers, that’d be great. But I guess that’s why this article is in the Op/Ed section…..right?


October 6th, 2012
12:34 pm

a millionaire should investment update its capital


October 10th, 2012
8:34 am

Bhorsoft – I understand your points, but a couple thoughts/questions for you.

First, regarding employees paying the UE premiums indirectly – what is the likelihood employers would give the premiums back to the employees, if the UE system magically went away. Don’t kid yourself, employers see it as their cost.

Second, sure millionaires have living expenses like the rest of us. Why do you think the federal/state governments should subsidize them continuing to drive a Mercedes and live in a 10,000 sqft house, instead of living off their investments? Doesn’t anyone have to save for a rainy day anymore?

[...] can receive unemployment benefits. Over 2000 people who received unemployment insurance in 2009 had household incomes over $1 million, according to the Congressional Research [...]