BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) – The Patrick administration denied media requests Wednesday for details on Tamerlan Tsarnaev's government benefits, citing his right to privacy.
State agencies are refusing to provide information about the 26-year-old Tamerlan and his brother and accused accomplice, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
The state's welfare agency is now saying it made a mistake when it released information about past benefits given to Tamerlan and other family members.
Thursday morning, the state released a statement, saying "state and federal laws prohibit disclosing information about individuals accessing a wide array of benefits. This week, the Department of Transitional Assistance, in an effort to be responsive to public inquiries, inappropriately confirmed information about the Tsarnaev family. Disclosing such information is not allowed by law. Regardless of the circumstances, we are obligated to follow state and federal law."
FOX 25 reported Wednesday that Tamerlan and his family were actually living off the taxpayer's dime, getting public assistance. The welfare benefits were said to have ended in 2012 because the family became ineligible. That was because his wife, Katherine, was working up to 80 hours a week while Tamerlan stayed at home. The Department of Transitional Assistance would not release information about how long or how much they received.
On Wednesday, the state said "the brothers were not receiving transitional assistance benefits at the time of the incident and have not received any transitional assistance benefits this year," said Alec Loftus, communications director, MA Health and Human Services. "The Tsarnaevs' parents are former recipients of transitional assistance benefits, and both Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev received benefits through their parents when they were younger. Separately, Tamerlan and his family received benefits until 2012, when the family became ineligible based on their income."