Cons Serving Time Cash-In on Stimulus Cash

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Posted: Aug 25, 2009 1:46 PM
The Boston Herald is reporting that federal stimulus money was accidentally handed-out to inmates serving time behind bars in Massachusetts prisons after a "bureaucratic snafu" resulted in $250 checks being mailed to prisoners.  To make matters worse, the incident likely could've been prevented:

Not only did the feds send the cash to incarcerated cons, but they failed to respond to state officials who sounded the alarm about the inmate windfall - now the subject of a national probe.

The state Department of Correction initially withheld stimulus checks mailed to 23 inmates because prison officials believed the convicts were not entitled to the cash, said DOC spokeswoman Diane Wiffin.

The DOC said it released the funds after the federal government ignored several requests for guidance.

The Social Security Administration is now asking prisoners to return the money.  The stimulus bill had authorized the payment of $13 billion in reserved funds to anyone collecting Social Security, Veterans Affairs or Railroad Retirement Board benefits at the time. But in this "snafu," some inmates received stimulus checks despite not having received a Social Security check for more than twenty years.