Family of suspected bombers received welfare, food stamps


Anzor Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, parents of suspected Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, spoke at a news conference in Dagestan, Russia.

By Evan Allen Globe Correspondent 

The family of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the two brothers accused in the Boston Marathon bomb attacks, received food stamps and welfare when the brothers were growing up, according to a letter from the state Department of Transitional Assistance that was obtained by the Globe.

In the letter, sent Thursday to the chairman of the House Post Audit and Oversight Committee, the department outlined the benefits that the brothers had received through their parents, Anzor and Zubeidat, as well as benefits Tamerlan Tsarnaev later received as a member of his wife’s household.


Anzor and Zubeidat received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, commonly known as food stamps, from October 2002 to November 2004, when Dzhokhar would have been about 8 to 10 years old and Tamerlan 15 to 17. The family also received them from August 2009 to December 2011, according to the letter.

Anzor was also a Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children grantee from January 2003 to March 2003, and again from August 2009 to June 2010.

Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children is a state and federally funded program that provides cash assistance to families with children and pregnant women, according to the letter. The program is commonly known as welfare.

The Tsarnaev parents were eligible for benefits as legal non-citizen residents with asylum status who met the basic eligibility criteria, which include household income levels and dependent children, according to the letter. The Tsarnaev brothers were both in the country legally.

Tamerlan’s wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, also received food stamps and welfare benefits from September 2011 to November 2012, according to the letter.


Neither Tamerlan, who was 26 when he died last week, nor Dzhokhar, who is 19, ever directly received welfare or food stamps, according to the letter.

The Boston Herald first reported the welfare benefits.

Evan Allen can be reached at
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