JPay Blog

Government Checks Mistakenly Sent to Inmates

One of President Obama’s promises was to send checks to people that would allow them to spend some money and therefore stimulate the economy. About 3,900 checks in the amount of $250 were sent to prison inmates. But if you’re in jail, you can’t do any shopping and prison inmates are usually excluded from receiving any federal benefits, so why was so much money for inmates sent?
Out of the 3,900 checks that were sent to prisoners, 2,200 of the inmates who received these funds got to keep them because, under the law, they qualified, said Mark Lassiter, a spokesman for the Social Security Administration. Lassiter explains that they were eligible because they weren’t incarcerated during the three months before the stimulus package was activated.
So, what about the other 1,700 checks that were sent to inmates? Well, that was a mistake, because government records didn’t accurately reflect that these people were actually in prison. And instead of taking the money and running so to speak, most of those checks were sent back to the government by the prisons.
The inspector general for the Social Security Administration is performing an audit to make sure no checks went to ineligible recipients, spokesman George E. Penn said. The audit will review whether checks were sent to people who do not qualify; including inmates, dead people, fugitives, or people residing outside of the country. About $425,000 was mistakenly sent to prisoners.
If you know a prisoner whose check was taken back and want to be able to give him or her some money, you can set up a trust fund account through JPay. JPay is the fastest way for an inmate’s loved one to send money to an inmate. With JPay, the money is generally credited to the inmate’s account by the following morning if not sooner.
Think of this as your own stimulus package to help someone in jail get back on his or her feet when it’s their time.