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Truth Squad: Can you just sit around, collect unemployment?

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Fri September 23, 2011

(CNN) -- During Thursday night's Republican presidential candidates debate in Orlando, Florida, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich addressed the staggering unemployment rate and jobless benefits.

The statement:

"And if you don't have a job and you need help, then in order for us to give you the help, you should sign up for a business-led training program so that that 99 weeks becomes an investment in human capital giving us the best trained workforce in the world so you can get a job. I believe it is fundamentally wrong to give people money for 99 weeks for doing nothing. That's why we had welfare reform." -- former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich

The facts:

Details differ slightly from state to state, but each state must meet federal guidelines regarding what recipients of unemployment benefits have to do to continue receiving their checks.

In Texas: "The work search must be reasonable under the claimant's circumstances, i.e., active enough to make it likely that the claimant will find a job within a reasonable amount of time. If a claimant fails to make a sufficient number of job contacts, there is a risk of being held unavailable for work and thus ineligible. A claimant may also be ineligible if he or she has unreasonable demands as to work schedules, job locations, pay, or benefits.

In California: A person must be physically able to work, available for work and actively looking for work each week benefits are claimed. Rules further state: "An individual must complete a claim form every two weeks, sign and date the form and return it to the Department for payment."

And in Georgia, which Newt represented in Congress: "Unemployment (must be) through no fault of your own. (Recipient must be) either looking for another job, have definite recall to their jobs within 6 weeks of the last day worked, or in approved training."

The verdict:

False. People on unemployment simply cannot do nothing and still collect benefits, as various state regulations spell out.

More Truth Squad:

How much do unions cost taxpayers?

A million new gas jobs?

Did Bachmann's HPV vaccination claim ring true?

Did Obama criticize Israel in U.N. address?

Do illegal immigrants get tuition discount?

Did Obama destroy the economy?

CNN's Forrest Brown contributed to this report.

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