News & Politics

Comptroller: Inmates Received Unemployment Benefits in Prison


Well, they ain’t working, so it’s no surprise 11 inmates in New York state prisons filed for unemployment benefits. The surprise is that they got them, a state comptroller’s audit reveals. “Crime should not pay,” says comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, “but these prisoners figured out a way to game the system from inside a cell.”

Well, it doesn’t pay well, anyway — the current maximum weekly benefit rate is $405, and unless these guys had jobs in waste management before incarceration, we doubt they got that much. But DiNapoli says the cons got about $30,000 — about $2,727 apiece, which means this was going on for at least six or seven weeks, and probably longer…

14 other prisoners “also may have received benefits while in jail,” says the comp’s office. Most interestingly, one of these was “incarcerated under another person’s name, social security number and date of birth.” The Manhattan D.A. is looking into that, and someone should probably look into the fact that nine of them “were able to show proof that they were eligible for the benefits.” (The prisoners, you will be unsurprised to learn, are not eligible for these benefits, as they are not in a position to seek employment.)

DiNapoli says he stopped another $18,000 from going out. Investigations are ongoing. Our question: where did Unemployment send the checks?



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