Marathon bombing suspects had been on welfare

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

BOSTON (AP) — The suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings killed in a shootout with police received welfare benefits from the state up until last year, when he became ineligible based on family income.

A spokesman for the state Office of Health and Human Services confirmed a Boston Herald report Wednesday that 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his wife and their toddler daughter had received benefits.

A lawyer for his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaeva, has said that she worked 70 to 80 hours per week as a home health aide while her husband cared for their daughter.

The state says both Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, his brother and the other bombing suspect, received welfare benefits as children through their parents while the family lived in Massachusetts.

Neither was receiving benefits at the time of the bombing.

State House Republican Leader Brad Jones said he’s been in contact with state officials to try to determine the type and amount of the benefits Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his family received.

Jones said he’s also asked that the state Department of Transitional Assistance verify that all family members met eligibility requirements when applying for public benefits.

“Obviously any past recipient of any past benefit could go on to do awful things,” said Jones.

Jones said it’s worthwhile, however, to see if the case highlights any shortcoming in the benefit system.

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