Report: 881 million federal unemployment checks sent out during weak economy

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The federal government has sent out more than 881 million weekly unemployment checks in the wake of the recent recession, the House Ways and Means Committee revealed Wednesday.

During recessions, the government often offers temporary federal unemployment benefit programs to assist unemployed workers who have gone through their standard 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits.

With the most recent recession, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation or EUC has already served up more than 10 times the weekly federal benefits as any other recent program and is still in effect, the committee said.

Those checks, tallied from July 2008 to July 2013, totaled $252 billion, or more than $200 billion in inflation adjusted dollars — more than any of the last four federal temporary unemployment benefit programs.

The committee reports that 24 million people in total have received benefits through the program and remained in the program for 38 weeks on average.

The EUC expires in December 2013.

The committee — chaired by Michigan Republican Dave Camp — adds in its memo that “all this record-setting benefit spending has bought is the slowest recovery on record” and calls for the program to be allowed to expire.

See the committee’s comparison chart:


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Caroline May