Updated: Lottery winner still collecting food stamps
A Michigan woman hits a lottery jackpot and continues to use her Bridge card--a card for
Amanda Clayton won $1 million from the
Michigan State Lottery
last fall. Since Clayton struck it rich, she is moving into a new house, paid for with cash, and bought a new car. This is something that many of us might do if we hit it big.
The controversy? She is still collecting and using money provided each month for food on her Bridge card. This money is provided to low income families by the state and is taxpayer money.
Detroit television station
used an undercover camera and recorded Clayton buying groceries. She admitted to a reporter that she gets $200 each month for food.
When WDIV confronted Clayton, she said she didn't think she was doing anything wrong. She told WDIV, "I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn't, I thought maybe if was okay because I'm not working."
According to Clayton, she didn't actually get the full $1 million. She took the "lump sum" option which brought the total down to $700,000. After she paid taxes, she says she received just more than half a million.
Clayton continued to tell WDIV that she still thinks she has a right to the $200 a month from the state. She said "I feel that it's okay because I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay," and continued with, "I have two houses."
This is not the first time this has happened in Michigan. In June of 2010, Leroy Fick won $2 million in the state lottery TV show "Make Me Rich!"
Fick continued to collect food stamps for 11 months.
Food stamp eligibility is based on gross monthly income and lottery winnings are considered liquid assets and do not count as income.
How would you feel about your tax money providing supplemental income for someone who won $1 million dollars?
(WDIV and The Detroit News contributed to this story)
Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) Director Maura Corrigan has informed WNWO Wednesday afternoon that the lottery winner who collected food stamps is no longer receiving benefits.
In a released statement to WNWO, Corrigan writes:
â??Under DHS policy, a recipient of food assistance benefits must notify the state within 10 days of any asset or income change. DHS relies on clients being forthcoming about their actual financial status. If they are not, and continue to accept benefits, they may face criminal investigation and be required to pay back those benefits.
Michigan DHS does not currently have the ability to verify a personâ??s lottery winnings in determining benefit eligibility, but bills pending in the state legislature would require the Michigan Lottery to notify DHS of lottery winners. We fully support this proposed change. Our Office of Inspector General will continue to vigorously pursue any and all abuse and fraud in the welfare system.â??