The New York State Insurance Fund improperly paid seven inmates—incarcerated for felony convictions—more than $36,000 in workers’ compensation (WC) benefits while they were in state prison, according to an examination by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“Simply stated, inmates serving felony time are not entitled to a dime of workers’ compensation benefits. These payments are indefensible and should have been stopped,” DiNapoli said.
DiNapoli’s office cross-checked claimants approved for WC benefits with the Department of Correction and Community Supervision’s inmate file and reviewed benefit payments made by the state for 3 years ending September 2011. They found seven inmates were paid more than $36,000 by the State Insurance Fund.
It doesn’t stop there. According to the report, another 193 inmates may have also received WC, but because their benefits are paid by private insurance carriers, DiNapoli’s examiners could not access those records. He did, however, advise the Workers’ Compensation Board to share information about the 193 inmates with those private insurers so that they could identify and recover inappropriate payments.
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