$1.6M in unemployment paid to ineligible incarcerated Louisianans

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BATON ROUGE, La (KLFY) — Last year, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) made payments to ineligible incarcerated individuals, according to an audit from the LWC.

The LWC was able to identify around $6.2 in potentially improper payments to 1,195 incarcerated individuals who were not eligible to qualify for Unemployment Insurance (State UI) and federally-funded COVID-19 unemployment assistance programs (Federal UI) from March 2020 through November 2020.

According to LWC’s policy, incarcerated individuals are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits because they are unable to obtain employment, which is required by state law. To verify eligibility, LWC performs a weekly match of individuals receiving unemployment benefits to incarceration data from LWC’s vendor’s national database.

Auditors found 92 individuals received only one week of benefits while they were incarcerated, which may indicate LWC identified them through its weekly data match and stopped payments. However, 1,103 individuals received benefits for more than one week, including some who received payments but were incarcerated from March 2020 through November 2020, which may indicate the weekly data match did not work as intended.

Read the full audit here:

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