Pennsylvania Halts Unemployment Checks to Prisoners (after 16 Years)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

State officials in Pennsylvania finally figured out after nearly two decades that prisoners have been receiving unemployment benefits.


Governor Tom Corbett (R) has vowed to stop the payments. A statewide law enforcement database, the Pennsylvania Justice Network, is now being used to match county prisoners with unemployment records. If a correlation is found, the state Department of Labor and Industry cancels the unemployment checks.


A state audit revealed that more than 26,000 inmates in local jails received jobless benefits, with some getting an average of $344 a week. Officials expect to save the state about $18 million annually by not paying prisoners unemployment.


Other states have had the same problem, including South Carolina and Arizona.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Cell Earnings: Prison Inmates Collect Unemployment (by John Baer, Philadelphia Daily News)

State Cracks Down on Unemployment Cheats in County Prisons (by Steve Esack And Samantha Marcus, Allentown Morning Call)

Unemployment Benefits Go to Millionaires Because of a Loophole in Current Law (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Vicki Baker, AllGov)

Most U.S. Jobless Don’t Receive Unemployment Benefits (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Unemployment Insurance Saves Jobs, Stimulates Economy (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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