New Jersey Prison Inmates Receive Millions in Improper Benefits

Thursday, 30 May 2013 08:02 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Inmates in New Jersey have been collecting millions of dollars in unemployment, healthcare and retirement benefits they shouldn't have received, according to a report released Wednesday by the state comptroller's office.

The report shows the state paid inmates $23 million in benefits over 22 months ending in April 2011. Those payments included jobless benefits, Medicaid coverage, food stamps, Work First cash assistance and state pension checks the inmates were not entitled to receive.

"These are vitally important social programs," Comptroller Matt Boxer said. "Our audit identifies simple but critical steps that will help ensure that tax dollars spent on these programs are reserved for those who actually qualify for benefits."

Boxer blamed gaps in oversight. For example, state agencies administering the public assistance programs failed to review county and state inmate data before awarding government benefits. Boxer said the departments responsible for administering each of the programs have vowed to recover the misspent money and to cross-check inmate data.

At the Labor Department, which oversees unemployment benefits, cross-checks of county inmate data began in March, Commissioner Hal Wirths said. In addition, the department's anti-fraud efforts, which include computer software that detects claims filed from outside the United States and stepped up efforts to stop people from collecting jobless benefits after returning to work, have saved $235 million, he said.

Incarcerated people are not entitled to unemployment benefits because they don't meet the condition of being able and available for work. Inmates don't need Medicaid because they receive healthcare while imprisoned. And they forfeit their pension rights upon conviction of a crime involving "moral turpitude," a legal term for behaviors that go against community standards.

Nonetheless, the state paid out $11 million in jobless benefits to 7,600 inmates during the audit period, including $39,600 to one man jailed for a drug-related offense and $25,700 to another man starting three months after he had been imprisoned for illegally firearm possession.

The comptroller's investigation into Medicaid fraud may lead to criminal charges. So far, it found $7 million in improper payments to Medicaid-managed organizations, health clinics, hospitals and pharmacies on behalf of incarcerated people. Some of the money was paid out after Medicaid was billed for services rendered on patients using someone else's Medicaid card, the report found.

Some $354,000 in pension payments to retired public workers should not have been made, according to the audit. The erroneous payments happened because the Treasury Department, which oversees pensions, does not match its database against county incarceration data, the report showed.

The largest improper payment of $37,000 went to a person incarcerated for sex assault of a minor.

The comptroller also found that 13 jailed state employees continued to be paid by using sick leave pay, in violation of state regulations.

In all, 20,000 incarcerated people were gaming the system by collecting improper payments, the report concluded.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Ex-Romney Adviser: Americans Don't Appreciate Foreign Policy

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 21:00 PM

Americans are woefully underinformed on the need for strong foreign policy, but that doesn't mean their leaders should a . . .

Obamacare Gives Some Young Adults Incentive to Stay Uninsured

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 20:42 PM

Despite its intended goal to provide health insurance to everyone, Obamacare actually gives some young adults a strong f . . .

CNN Anchor Tweets Insult About Fox News Climate Story

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 19:26 PM

CNN anchor Bill Weir went on a mini-Twitter tirade Thursday, crudely slamming a Fox News blog for its post on former Vic . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved