The Illinois Department of Employment Security is looking for prisoners who are collecting unemployment. Spokesman Greg Rivara says the department has been looking for names appearing on both the unemployment benefit and prison rolls. The 2-week-old initiative has so far turned up 420 names, but Rivara says they’re likely not all fraudulent.


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“An individual might be serving nights and weekends in jail, and therefore still available for work,” he says.

Rivara says those in jail for longer than a week are ineligible to work during that week, and are therefore ineligible for unemployment benefits. Rivara says the prison checks weren’t in place earlier because the department was tackling so-called big ticket items, such as federal tax return garnishment.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio/