Wednesday, February 6, 2013

PA years late in stopping inmate unemployment fraud

The law in Pennsylvania provides that a jail or prison inmate may not collect unemployment benefits. But until recently the state had no sure way to stop payments from getting to inmates in county prisons, costing millions in fraudulent payments every year, reported the PA Independent.

Recently state officials announced a potential solution. Using an existing data system called the Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET), the state can cross-match inmate data with unemployment records to identify unemployment beneficiaries in county prisons and stop payments.

Now, individual inmate information will be automatically checked against unemployment compensation rolls. In the state’s words, this is “saving the UC trust fund and the commonwealth’s businesses and employees millions of dollars,” a news release says, reported the Independent.

That sounds great, but the problem is that JNET has been around for about two decades.  The majority of Pennsylvania’s county prisons – 51 out of 63 – already use JNET to access and cross-reference data such as criminal history, driving records, prison records and other inmate information.

Yet, inmates have been able to get millions and million of dollars of illegal benefits while the solution existed at nearly every institution in the state. The DOC attaches an annual savings of about $6 million for every 1,000 unemployment compensation claimants identified, according to the Independent.

To read more:

No comments:

Post a Comment