Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family has received more than $100,000 in welfare benefits over the last decade, according to the Boston Herald.
Details of the benefits – which included cash, food stamps and housing assistance – are contained within more than 500 documents that were handed over from Massachusetts welfare officials to a committee of state lawmakers on Monday.
The documents have not been released publicly, but a person who has reviewed them told the Boston Herald that the “breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning”.
The paper also spoke to Massachusetts Rep. David Linsky about the documents, who promised a thorough review of the assistance that the family received.
“I can assure members of the public that this committee will actively review every single piece of information we can find because clearly the public has a substantial right to know what benefits, if any, this family or individuals accused of some horrific crimes were receiving,” said David Linsky, the committee’s chairman.
It has been previously reported that deceased Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his wife Katherine Russell relied on food stamps and public assistance from 2011 to 2012, soon after they became parents.
Last Friday, the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance detailed how the couple received food stamps from September 2011 to November 2012.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Katherine Russell, who married in June 2010, are believed to have become parents to their daughter, Zahara, in 2011, in the months before they began receiving the aid.
In addition to food stamps, the young family also benefited from TAFDC (Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children), a program for low income parents with dependent children.
TAFDC is paid out twice a month and can be directly deposited into a recipient’s bank account.
The assistance was paid to Katherine Russell, since a person must be a U.S. citizen, or eligible non-citizen, to receive the aid.
While they took the government aid, Katherine Russell would sometimes clock as many as 80 hours a week while her unemployed husband stayed at home.
Ultimately Katherine Russell Tsarnaev’s income made the couple ineligible for welfare and they stopped receiving state money in November 2012.
Welfare officials have been forced to divulge details of the aid that was paid out to the family of the bombing suspects.
Mass. Gov. Patrick Deval told state agencies last week that they should not discuss the details of what government assistance Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had received, citing privacy concerns.
Welfare information is not available for public release unless the person in question provides their consent, but it is available to lawmakers.
Massachusetts State Rep. David Linsky called on the state’s Department of Transitional Assistance to provide him with the information.
David Linksy issued an ultimatum on Thursday to welfare officials, giving them 24 hours to provide the information.
The letter from Rep. David Linsky was provided to the Boston Herald.
“My office is working to fully comply with your request,” DTA interim commissioner Stacey Monahan wrote in his report to Rep. David Linsky, saying they were only providing a summary “given the great interest in this matter”.
In addition to the aid paid out to Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Katherine Russell, both alleged Boston bombers had benefited from welfare since their parents Anzor and Zubeidat Tsarnaev collected foodstamps and TAFDC – from 2002 to 2004 and again in 2009 to 2011.
Since the Tsarnaevs are Chechen immigrants, some wondered why they received aid. But the state agency explained that they were considered eligible for the public assistance.
“The Tsarnaev parents were eligible to receive benefits as legal, non-citizen residents who were granted asylum status and met the basic eligibility criteria for DTA, including household income levels, presence of dependent children and other factors,” the DTA interim commissioner Stacey Monahan said in a letter addressed to David Linsky, Chairman of the House Post Audit and Oversight Committee.
The Herald had reported that sources who knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev said that though he sported a flashy appearance, he failed to earn very much money for his family and was essentially a stay-at-home dad.
His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has been described as more entrepreneurial.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died early on April 19 after a shoot-out with police in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was captured late on April 19 after an extensive manhunt.