Jobless millionaires are among almost a million wealthy households in the US claiming unemployment benefits.
Although the 2,400 millionaires only added up to 0.02% of unemployment benefit claimants, more than 954,000 other households earning more than $100,000 a year were also paid social security, according to figures released by the Congressional Research Service.
The report also revealed 4.6 million unemployment claims were filed in the second quarter of 2012.
Politicians are considering axing unemployment benefits for the wealthy as part of a swathe of cuts aimed at reducing an expected $1.1 trillion budget for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012.
Paying benefits to the jobless accounted for a large amount of the deficit as the unemployment rate in the US has been running at 8.1%.
More than 100 multimillionaires paid benefits
“Sending millionaires unemployment checks is a case study in out-of-control spending,” said Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. “Providing welfare to the wealthy undermines the program for those who need it most while burdening future generations with senseless debt.”
Scrapping benefit payments to millionaires and other high earners would slice $20 million off the social security budget over the next 10 years, said the report.
Senator Coburn has campaigned against paying benefits to high earners.
Last year, he drafted legislation to stop federal funded unemployment benefit payments to claimants with at least $1 million in assets in the year prior to the claim was filed.
The Senate voted unanimously in favour of his Ending Unemployment Payments to Jobless Millionaires Act of 2011, but the law has never seen the light of day after linking with another bill that is still stuck in the Senate.
Coburn claims 18 households with a gross income of more than $10 million received average unemployment benefit of $12,333 in 2009, while 74 households earning between $5 million and $10 million were paid an average $18,351.
Plan for 100% jobless wealth tax dropped
The average millionaire household picked up $11,113 – equivalent to around 37 weeks of unemployment benefit payments.
The House of Representatives has recently passed a bill aimed at a 100% tax on jobless benefits for single claimants earning more than $1 million or married claimants with an income exceeding $2 million.
However, the clause was dropped before reaching President Barak Obama for signature and passing in to law.
On average, an American who loses a job takes 40 weeks to find more work, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Unemployment claims peaked at 6.6 million in May 2009, which was the highest figure for more than 30 years, said the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration.