They’re behind bars, but you’re still paying their “salaries.”
State and federal officials say inmates across the country continue to collect millions each year in fraudulent unemployment benefits—often the result of oversight—with the most recent case in Pennsylvania, where more than 1,000 people collected benefits while behind bars.
Pennsylvania officials said this week the fraud occurred in county prisons because they failed to implement a system of cross-checking the Social Security numbers of benefit applicants, like they did with inmates in their state and federal prisons.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett said his administration is correcting the problem. But the 1,162 inmates had already collected about $334 every week for more than four months, costing taxpayers roughly $7 million.
The state labor department said detecting the fraud is more difficult now that benefit checks—once intercepted in inmates’ mail—have largely been replaced with direct deposits to bank accounts. And the biweekly phone calls to renew benefits can be made by a friend or relative at home.
More difficult? Really? Here’s the SSN from Prisoner #1234. Has he been sent any checks since 1/1/10 when he got here? Yes/No. Here’s the SSN from Prisoner #1235. Has he been sent any checks since 1/2/10 when he got here? Oh yeah, that’s real friggin hard. Even without a script or a macro, a database operator ought to be able to key in 2,000 of these queries a week. And a script ought to give you back 50,000 answers in about 3 seconds. It’s not a matter of snooping through their mail. It’s a matter of looking at your own records.
Overall unemployment fraud is now at 2.85 percent, according to the Labor Department. The agency doesn’t have a specific number for fraud payments but said overall improper payments cost taxpayers $4.9 billion from July 2011 through June 2012, the agency’s most recent reporting period.
The problem is hardly isolated to Pennsylvania. The states with the highest fraud rate over that period were Arizona at 9.21 percent; Mississippi at 9.05 percent; Louisiana at 8.29 percent; South Dakota at 5.95 percent; and Pennsylvania and New Mexico tied at 5.22 percent. The total amount of improper payments was roughly $890 million.
Wait. Stop. Don’t. Run the numbers, and see the CYA BS in the above paragraph. IF an unemployment check is $334, and IF the $4.9 billion is not a BS lowball number (I guarantee you it is, that the real number is double or triple), and IF we are talking a 1 years period ... then this shows that more than 282,000 inmates are improperly receiving unemployment checks. Now if the 6 states listed have the fraud numbers reported, it means ... that they have a whole lot of prisoners in jail. And that’s about all you can do with that, right now.
In Arizona, officials purportedly found 475 inmates collected roughly $1.1 million in 2010 and 2012. To detect the fraud, the state’s Department of Economic Security used the same Social Security cross-referencing that Pennsylvania was using in state and federal prisons since 1997.
Arizona, leading the nation with the highest inmate fraud ... comes up with 475 inmates duping the state out of $1.1 million over a 2 year period. Aye caramba Jefe! That’s a whacking great $22.27 per week per prisoner. What, did they all illegally sign up for milk and newspaper delivery? Puh LEEZ. Arizona is playing CYA like nobody’s bidniz. Even the cheap-ass Sunset State has to pay more than that for unemployment.
Whatever. There’s a damn long way to go before the handout system has clean hands. Prisons are just one tiny part of it. The entire system is chock full of scammers, liars, multiple dippers, dead people still drawing checks years after they’ve died ... you name it. All because the government is FILLED with make-work jobs and button pushers, and no accountability.
I bet that if you trimmed off the fraud and the waste and got the military to buy common items for regular wholesale prices you could cut $300 billion PER YEAR in spending. And if you then went through and started cutting redundant jobs and departments ... well that’s a daydream for another day. That somebody is FINALLY doing something about this one tiny little scam is all the ray of hope you’re allowed to have for today. The stuff is rare, so we’ve got to ration it.
UPDATE: more, via Vilmar’s.
If it makes you feel any better the money they get is borrowed from the Chinese.
I know I didn’t pay any Fed tax so it wasn’t mine.
In CA, I hear lawsuits by criminals is a thriving business. What a crock, criminals use to lose a lot of their ‘rights’ once convicted, doesn’t seem to be the case (see Criminal Illegal Invaders for proof) anymore.
Put a stop to it and add 20 years to their sentence. If they’re already in for life, execute them.
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