How Did Millionaires Receive Unemployment Benefits?

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on October 10, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Unemployment benefits are important for many Americans who suddenly find themselves out of a job during hard times but should millionaires get them too?

Whether you say yes or no, there are currently no income limits on who can receive unemployment benefits. Over 2000 people who received unemployment insurance in 2009 had household incomes over $1 million, according to the Congressional Research Service.

That adds up to a significant cost for the government even though it's only a tiny fraction of the total number of people receiving unemployment benefits. But removing millionaires from the benefits payroll is easier said than done.

Unemployment, like other government benefits, is an administrative program. It has certain rules and must follow a set of procedures when providing benefits.

The benefits are available to anyone who was previously receiving a paycheck, was fired through no fault of his own, and is able to and looking for work.

For a majority of Americans those payments are vital to allow them time to look for another job that fits their skills and qualifications.

Terminating someone's unemployment benefits entitles them to a hearing before an administrative law judge if that person feels the termination was unjustified. An administrative hearing is similar to a courtroom procedure but it's slightly less formal.

Both the government and the recipient have the opportunity to give their reasons for and against the termination of benefits.

Just like a courtroom setting, you can have a lawyer present in an administrative hearing and it can be very helpful to your case. If you're dealing with losing your unemployment benefits, talk to a lawyer today to get some perspective on what you can do about it.

Millionaires receiving unemployment benefits only make up about .02% of recipients, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and account for about $20.8 million in spending.

That amount isn't huge but it could possibly be put to better use. Senator Tom Coburn proposed a bill last year to end unemployment benefits for millionaires, but whether it will ever end up as a law is still a mystery.

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