At least 240 Texas convicts had federal economic stimulus checks delivered to them at state prisons in a bureaucratic mix-up that federal and state authorities are investigating, reports the Austin American-Statesman. While prison officials intercepted most of the checks, nine convicts were allowed to cash the $250 checks because they were eligible for the one-time payments to Americans receiving federal benefits such as Social Security. Incarcerated convicts generally are ineligible to receive federal benefits checks.
Those who were not in prison between November 2008 and January 2009 could legally accept them. The Social Security Administration in Dallas said 3,900 stimulus checks went to people who were in prisons or jails across the nation – 2,200 of whom were eligible for the money and 1,700 of whom were not. Checks issued to the ineligible inmates totaled $425,000. The Boston Herald reported that 23 Massachusetts convicts received stimulus checks and cashed them. At least 14 inmates are now being asked to return the cash.