State prisoners receive more than $6 million in unemployment

By T. Scott Boatright

BATON ROUGE — Around 1,195 Louisiana prison inmates who likely weren’t eligible to receive those benefits received approximately $6.2 million in unemployment insurance according to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.

In its response to the audit, Louisiana’s Workforce Commission, which administers unemployment benefits, said that it is working to determine why its process for checking incarceration data is not working properly.

The audit, which was released Monday, said the LWC performs a weekly match of individuals who receive unemployment benefits to incarceration data from a national database. In her response to the audit, LWC Secretary Ava Cates said the agency uses Appriss, which “interfaces to over 2,000 jails and (Department of Corrections) facilities.”

The audit used data from the Louisiana Department of Corrections and found 92 people received only one week of benefits while incarcerated, indicating the LWC’s cross-checks identified these individuals and stopped their payments. Another 1,103 who were incarcerated from March through November 2020 received more than one week of benefits, which the audit said showed the data match did not work as intended.

 


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