State Paying Unemployment to People in Jail, Audit Says
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — An audit by Washington officials has revealed many people in county jails are receiving unemployment benefits they're ineligible for.
A report Monday by the state Auditor's office says the audit scrutinized eight county jails and identified 1,911 potential overpayments worth about $656,000 from July 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014. There are 57 jails in the state, according to the report.
People in jail or prison aren't eligible for certain government benefits and the report says an agency providing benefits has to know a person is incarcerated to "prevent or recover inappropriate payments." Certain state agencies can access confidential jail records, but not the Employment Security Division, which distributes unemployment benefits.
The report says the Auditor's office recommends allowing the agency to access confidential jail records needed to identify improper payments.