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R42643 – Receipt of Unemployment Insurance by Higher-Income Unemployed Workers(“Millionaires”) – 10/12/2016

Author: Katelin P. Isaacs, Analyst in Income Security; Julie M. Whittaker, Specialist in Income Security
Pages: 14

This report addresses many of the questions that have arisen regarding such proposals, including the potential number of people who would be affected and the potential savings to federal and state governments. To place these proposals into context, the report provides a brief overview of the UI system and explains why receipt of UI benefits is not restricted based on income under current law. It then presents Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data on the distribution of household income and unemployment benefits for two tax years: 2010, when UI receipt was at a recent peak, and 2014, the most recently available data, to shed light on the size of the group potentially affected by such proposals. The report raises policy considerations such as the potential impact of such proposals on federal expenditures, given the joint federal-state nature of unemployment programs. Finally, it summarizes relevant, recent legislation. Bills: S. 18, H.R. 2448, H.R. 3979, H.R. 4415, H.R. 4550, S. 2097, S. 2148, and S. 2149.