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Spain extends special aid payments to jobless

Associated Press
A man sits on one street beside to a banner reading, ''Dear audience. I am a parent and I have to keep three children. I have no job and I have no unemployment benefits. I'm here because necessity compels me. I hope you're never in this situation because it is very hard and sad but I have to fight for my children. Please help me. Thank you'', in Pamplona northern Spain on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
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A man sits on one street beside to a banner reading, ''Dear audience. I am a parent and I have to keep three children. I have no job and I have no unemployment benefits. I'm here because necessity compels me. I hope you're never in this situation because it is very hard and sad but I have to fight for my children. Please help me. Thank you'', in Pamplona northern Spain on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

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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