Spain extends special aid payments to jobless

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Associated Press

Posted on January 25, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 25 at 10:02 AM

MADRID (AP) — The Spanish government says it will keep paying monthly benefits of up to €450 ($606) to long-term unemployed people until the jobless rate drops below 20 percent.

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria announced the extension to the policy after a weekly Cabinet meeting Friday, a day after data showed the unemployment rate hit a record 26 percent in the final quarter of 2012. Just under 6 million people were out of work.

Saenz de Santamaria declined to estimate when the rate might drop below 20 percent.

The payments are for unemployed people whose jobless benefits have run out. Excluded are people who live in households with overall incomes that exceed €481 a month per person.

The government said 200,000 people received such payments in 2012.

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