Prisoners Collect Millions in Unemployment Checks

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


Well they are unemployed. If you don’t count a life of crime as a job.

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.

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.

A recent audit in South Carolina purportedly shows the state is also paying unemployment benefits to inmates as well as children, dead people and residents of other states.

State Sen. Kevin Bryant said the percentage of claims could be as high as 25 percent.

You can’t discriminate against Underage-Americans, Undead-Americans and People-Who-Don’t-Live-Here Americans. That would be Unconstitutional.

  • Marylou

    When I worked in our state Unemployment Office, claimants had to certify they were both able and available to accept an immediate job offer. AND list at least two employers to whom they had applied in person each week. AND provide contact phone numbers for those employers. AND, if we doubted them, we checked. AND if they lied, no money, AND they were subject to prosecution for fraud.

    I gather this is not the procedure anymore.

  • Michael Copeland

    Last days of Rome

  • rpbertlane

    I'm guessing this is one more reason SC can't pay their bills.