Remember that story about the woman in Michigan who won $1 million in the lottery but also managed to keep receiving $200/month in food assistance? Apparently people at the Michigan Dept. of Human Services also read the news, because they’ve now cut off her benefits.
In a statement to Detroit’s WDIV-TV:
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 person’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.
The woman said she thought it was okay for her to continue receiving food stamps because she didn’t have a job or any other income aside from her lottery winnings.
Michigan lawmakers have already been considering legislation that would require the state lottery authorities to provide DHS with the names of prize winners to prevent anything like this woman’s situation from happening again.