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New York state improperly paid workers comp benefits to prison inmates: Audit


ALBANY, N.Y.—An audit found that New York's State Insurance Fund paid workers compensation benefits to incarcerated felons, but examiners could not conclude whether private insurers and self-insured employers also paid benefits to any inmates.

The State Insurance Fund improperly paid seven state prison inmates $36,000, according to an examination conducted by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Inmates jailed on felony convictions are not eligible for workers comp benefits in New York.

“These payments are indefensible and should have been stopped,” Mr. DiNapoli said Friday in a statement. “The Workers' Compensation Board owes it to businesses and taxpayers to put stronger internal controls in place. New York state businesses can't afford to pay higher insurance premiums to cover the cost of these inappropriate payments.”

The comptroller's office found the improper workers comp payments by cross-checking work comp claimant records with Department of Correction files for benefit payments made during the three-year period that ended last September.

The comptroller said another 193 inmates also may have been inappropriately paid benefits, but examiners could not say for certain because their benefits are paid by private insurers and self-insured employers.

However, the New York Workers' Compensation Board “could assist both itself and the State Insurance Fund as well as the more than 1,600 private and self-insurance companies by performing a periodic match of claimant and inmate files,” according to the report.

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