The federal government has paid out 881 million weekly unemployment benefit checks during the current economic slowdown, totaling $252 billion since 2008, according to a new memo released Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee.
During and after recessions, federal taxpayers step in to pick up the tab for long-term unemployment benefits when state benefits expire.
It’s considered to be a temporary program, but in this case it’s run for five years and has paid out far more than in the previous three recessions.
Committee Republicans said 24 million people have received long-term unemployment benefits, compared with 8 million during and after the 1982 and 2002 recessions and 9 million after the 1991 recession.
And the average recipient is out of a job for far longer, collecting 38 weeks of benefits, compared with a high of 17 weeks after the 1991 recession.