Tamerlan Tsarnaev Was Collecting State Welfare Benefits, Officials Confirm

Boston Marathon Bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was receiving welfare benefits up to 2012, Massachusetts officials have confirmed. Members of his family also collected welfare.

The elder Tsarnaev brother, 26, was killed early Friday morning in the midst of a police shootout in Watertown, Mass.

After being initially non-committal, the Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services officially acknowledged that Tsarnaev was on the taxpayer-supported dole but not when the bombings occurred:

“State officials confirmed last night that Tsarnaev … was receiving benefits along with his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, and their 3-year-old daughter. The state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services said those benefits ended in 2012 when the couple stopped meeting income eligibility limits. Russell Tsarnaev’s attorney has claimed Katherine — who had converted to Islam — was working up to 80 hours a week as a home health aide while Tsarnaev stayed at home.

“In addition, both of Tsarnaev’s parents received benefits, and accused brother bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan were recipients through their parents when they were younger, according to the state. The news raises questions over whether Tsarnaev financed his radicalization on taxpayer money.”

State officials have as yet been unwilling to confirm how much total money in welfare Tsarnaev collected or the specific public assistance programs for which he qualified. Nor have they revealed when he started collecting welfare. Presumably all this information will become public eventually through Freedom of Information.

In the words of another news outlet, “He grew to hate Americans, but that didn’t stop him from living off them.”

Beyond the Tsarnaev case, federal officials reportedly don’t enforce a key provision of current immigration law that can bar entry into this country for those who are likely to be dependent on government assistance (i.e., becoming a “public charge”) rather than become self-supporting. “… in FY 2011, just .068 percent of 10.37 million immigration applicants processed by the State Department were found to be ineligible on the basis of becoming a public charge.”

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