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Prisoners claiming millions in Centrelink benefits from behind bars

The Federal Government has been conducting sweeps of the nation’s prisons, finding more than 20,000 inmates illegally claiming Centrelink benefits.

Taxpayers have coughed up more than $16.5 million to jailed criminals rorting the system.

2GB’s Chris Smith talks to Human Services Minister Alan Tudge to find out more.

“In a few instances, somebody’s been getting away with it for, say, five or six years.

“We’ve identified them now, and they’ll have to repay all $60,000 which they owe and they may face criminal circumstances themselves.”

As for how these prisoners have gone unnoticed for so long, the Minister tells Smith, “we’ve  introduced data-matching with the department of corrections in every state and territory so that we match every individual that goes into prison with our Centrelink records.

“If they have been receiving that payment when they shouldn’t have been, then we’ll follow them up and we’ll get that money back.

“We’re picking up almost 90% of these people within two weeks.”

Listen to the full interview below