Sunday, December 29, 2013

This is Who Lost Unemployment Benefits

Middle-Class Workers

A onetime chief-of-staff to then-Rep. Michael McNulty had 23 years of experience in congressional and government relations. He is also among the 1.3 million Americans who recently lost their long-term federal unemployment insurance benefits.

Only people who are out of work due to no fault of their own (such as a lay off) are eligible to receive unemployment benefits. If they quit without good cause or were fired for misconduct, they wouldn't qualify.

And unemployment benefits are taxed for federal income tax (and depending on the state, for state taxes as well). Generally speaking, someone has to work for about 6 months in a fiscal year to qualify, and the benefit amount depends on how much they earned.

In other words, lazy, disgruntled, and/or drug-addicted hobos don't generally qualify for unemployment benefits. Usually only hard-working and reliable workers do.

From the MiddletownPress:

  • Felix Pagan went on unemployment after he lost his job at a Subaru dealership.
  • Bruce Hirshfield was working at a regional bank before getting “restructured out".
  • Tom Knowlton ran fast-food restaurants, but was forced out for a younger manager for less money.
  • Michael Carlo, a former field engineer, has also been looking for a job since his layoff.

Members of the military, when their enlisted terms of active duty have expired, they are also eligible for unemployment benefits.

Roughly 40 percent of Americans who've received long-term unemployment benefits since 2008 had previously earned between $30,000 and $75,000 a year, according to an analysis of Census data by the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

The Congressional Budget Office has shown that more than two-thirds of recipients had annual incomes more than twice the poverty level --- and that such households received 70 percent of all unemployment payments.

Anyone can lose their jobs due to no fault of their own --- even CEOs --- everyone is expendable.

Nevada Rep. Joe Heck's wife once collected unemployment benefits after she worked for "Specialized Medical Operations", when her husband Joe was the president of the company.

In 2010, when two incumbent senators and 51 incumbent members of the House lost their jobs, they were entitled to unemployment insurance and COBRA health care. (Not to mention early federal pensions at age 50 if they so chose).

According to this Department of Labor document (PDF), it's unclear whether all states excluded elected officials from eligibility. Some confusion remains when it comes to local officials. In 2009, a Rosemead, California city councilman who failed in his re-election bid collected more than $11,000 in unemployment benefits.

And thousands of millionaires also collect unemployment benefits.

In other words, unemployment insurance (for the most part) serves hard-working middle-class workers (and a few rich and politically connected people) --- not a bunch of lazy alcoholic slackers who refuse to find jobs.

Related Post: Once Benefits End, so do Chances of Finding a Job


  1. New York Times Editorial Board:

    "A [Republican] misperception is that ending benefits will help to end unemployment. In that scenario, Republicans see themselves as practicing tough love, jolting dependents into finding jobs. That is not how it works. Long-term unemployment is high because there are not enough jobs, not because millions of Americans have suddenly lost their work ethic. As demonstrated in North Carolina, which has cut state jobless benefits and effectively rejected federal benefits, slashing aid has led, not to more jobs, but to despair.

  2. Safeway just shuttered a whopping 72 grocery stores resulting in 6,000 jobs lost. The full article with an AWESOME VIDEO YouTube video is here at the Economic Populist.