Officials acknowledge the state paid nearly $3.4 million in unemployment benefits to Texans behind bars over the last four years.
The Texas Workforce Commission says it identified about 1,700 cases of prison and jail inmates collecting benefits. But agency spokeswoman Lisa Givens says most fraud cases were caught early so the payments didn't continue for long.
Inmates aren't eligible for unemployment payments because those filing for benefits must be available for full-time work.
KHOU-TV in Houston reports lists of eligible recipients are checked against names of state prison inmates. Givens says a program to check names of city, county and federal inmates has started.
Givens says the commission averted paying about $9.3 million to state prison inmates the past four years because of early fraud detection.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.