Only in NJ: Go to prison, collect unemployment and food stamps

Waste, fraud, and abuse in entitlement programs? Nah, just business as usual!

At least 20,000 inmates locked up in New Jersey’s prisons and jails were improperly paid nearly $24 million in benefits from state and federal programs over a two-year period, an audit by the state comptroller’s office has found.

More than $10 million in unemployment benefits were paid to more than 7,600 inmates, according to the findings, which were released this morning. In one case, the audit found that an inmate collected unemployment payments for a year — totaling about $39,000 — while incarcerated for a drug offense.

The audit examined benefits paid to inmates during the 22 months that ended in April 2011. Most of the benefits came from the unemployment insurance program and Medicaid, which paid out $7.1 million to inmates, the audit found.

In addition, the federal-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program paid out more than $4.2 million in potentially improper benefits and Work First New Jersey paid $1.2 million, the audit found.

Crime pays!

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