No More Food Stamps For $1 Million Michigan Lottery Winner

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.

Michigan lottery winner loses state food assistance [WDIV via CNN]

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  1. HowardRoarksTSquare says:

    Now if we could just mandate drug-testing for those receiving public assistance, we’d be one step closer to fixing these problems.

    • Gorbachev says:

      I support anal probes for legislators, who propose drug testing for wellfare recipients.

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      I propose that those receiving public assistance must be able to save the princess in the original Super Mario Bros.

      Without using any warp zones.

    • Marlin says:

      Yea cause thats worked great so far. No waste of Gov funds there.

      /s

    • jimbobjoe says:

      Didn’t the emerging evidence from Florida’s drug testing of recipients show it was a bad use of tax money?

    • MutantMonkey says:

      Either you are trolling or you do not understand the reach of public funds.

      In any case the system would be easily gamed and the only winners would be the manufacturers of the kits and the labs doing the testing.

    • longfeltwant says:

      Agreed. We should implement such a program in this order:

      * start with all military soldiers and employees
      * then politicians starting with the ones in the most important offices
      * then government employees starting with the best paid
      * then all citizens who receive the Mortgage Interest Deduction social-engineering tax deduction
      * then anyone who receives any other tax deduction such as the adoption tax credit or a deduction for charitable contributions
      * then anyone who drives on public roads
      * then anyone who receives a social security payout
      * then anyone on medicaid, then medicare
      * then people on welfare, but by this point in the list we’ve probably covered most of them anyway

      Let’s get on this right away. We can no longer allow soldiers, politicians, and government employees get away with STEALING taxpayer dollars to fund their DRUG ADDLED LIFESTYLES!

      • Straspey says:

        Please copy and paste this into a text file for your own safe keeping –

        One of the best comments I’ve ever read here on Consumerist.

        +1 – and you win the internet for the rest of the day.

      • Snoofin says:

        Actually, all military personnel are already randomly tested for drugs. I know because I had one when I was in. I dont know about civilian contractors though

        • longfeltwant says:

          Great. They won’t mind, then, submitting a pee sample every time they pick up their paychecks. Good thing we started with them! So, now on with the politicians. First we’ll check Obama to make sure he’s really off the cocaine, but I’m willing to let him slide on the cigarettes. Then we’ll do the senators, then the representatives. Then we’ll move down to state governors and legislators. We’re off to a good start! Who’s with me?

          • Kuri says:

            I better ready my flying pig for take off.

          • RedOryx says:

            The more I read your comments in Consumerist posts the more I really like the way you think.

          • Firethorn says:

            * start with all military soldiers and employees – Already done randomly AND directed occasionally. I was tested 3 times last year. Do you think that increasing that rate to 24 times a year is going to catch any additional offenders? Or just cost a LOT of money. I’d estimate each test’s cost at ~$100. You have my time, the observer’s time, and the administrator’s time.
            * then politicians starting with the ones in the most important offices – You have me here, but then, I do tend to be hostile towards politicians.
            * then government employees starting with the best paid – Uh, why do you count non-DoD employees lower than military employees? Already done in many, if not most, positions.
            * then all citizens who receive the Mortgage Interest Deduction social-engineering tax deduction Personally, I’m a libertarian. If they’re capable of taking care of themselves to the point we’re quibling about tax deductions, as opposed to actually getting money from the state, I support letting them do drugs.
            * then anyone who drives on public roads – Effectively already exists on a randomized basis.
            * then anyone who receives a social security payout – They already paid their money in!
            * then anyone on medicaid, then medicare – Probably going to ‘fail’ and require extra work just from the drugs they’ve been legally prescribed.

            Personally, I’d rather get rid of ‘welfare’ and go to ‘workfare’. We need to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, even build the infrastructure of the future.

      • KidRey says:

        ^wins

    • ancientone567 says:

      You can’t break people’s constitutional rights against unlawful searches just to prevent some bad eggs from doing drugs. Find another way without walking all over the U.S. Constitution and basic rights.

      • AcctbyDay says:

        I am pro privacy just as you are obviously. Nothing in the constitution says we have to pay people welfare, therefore if there is some kind of requirement (i.e. drug test) what is the problem? You want free money? Pass a drug test. Is that so wrong?

        • longfeltwant says:

          I’m not convinced that a drug test is an impermissible intrusion into the life of a welfare recipient, but the way you broke it down isn’t right. The Constitution doesn’t guarantee a person a welfare check (for good reason), nor does it prohibit it (despite right-wing rants), but it DOES prohibit unreasonable searches. If this search is unreasonable, then it is unconsitutional, and the constitutional status of welfare itself is not relevant. Similarly, you couldn’t deny a person the right to use a public road until they took a drug test (despite attempts to do so), even though roads aren’t guaranteed by the Constitution.

          • dolemite says:

            If welfare isn’t guaranteed by the constitution, I fail to see where the “search and seizure” is being forced on someone. Are they forced to take welfare/food stamps? I’m pretty sure they have to apply for them. The government isn’t forcing them to do anything. If they want to make it a condition you must pass drug testing to receive this optional government benefit, they can.

            • Such an Interesting Monster says:

              Because there is absolutely zero correlation between being poor/requiring assistance and illegal drug use. Since illicit drug use is a crime, demanding people submit to drug testing without any prior suspicion is in fact an illegal search.

              The government needs a *reason* to drug test someone, typically because they already suspect you’ve broken the law, for example, high as a kite while driving. But being poor and requiring assistance isn’t (yet) a crime.

              Think of it this way — if this practice is ok, where does it end? Want a driver’s license? Submit to a drug test. Want to go to public school or university? Drug test. Unemployment benefits? Drug test. Entry into a public park? Drug test. I mean, no one is forcing you to get a driver’s license, go to public school, collect unemployment, or use public land, right?

              • partofme says:

                I could see screening for drugs when offering cash benefits surviving at least the rational basis test, and probably intermediate scrutiny. Who knows for strict scrutiny. On the other hand, most of your hypotheticals are unlikely to satisfy even the rational basis test. The edge of the wedge may not be so thin.

                You should also recall that when Michigan’s drug testing program got killed, it was by a federal judge’s ruling… which was overturned by the Circuit panel. The only reason it got killed is because the full court vacated the panel’s ruling when performing their own review. Since they got stuck 6-6, the very first ruling stuck. The decision essentially turned on a procedural matter, so the Constitutionality question is still very open.

      • HowardRoarksTSquare says:

        If you are making reference to unreasonable search & seizure, it’s not unreasonable. If you want to take-take-take from the government, you need to give a little too.

        If you have the money for menthols , grape soda and crack you don’t need public assistance.

        • Jaynor says:

          *shakes head at poorly disguised racism*

        • MutantMonkey says:

          Trolling racist. Got it. Thanks for clearing that up.

        • Such an Interesting Monster says:

          And you would be wrong. But thanks for playing! Buh-bye now!

          Last time I checked being poor and in need of assistance wasn’t a crime, and therefore doesn’t warrant a search or seizure.

      • taaurrus says:

        Are you saying you are against drug testing for people who receive welfare? You do realize that employers have been drug testing for years right? So, its violating your consitutional rights to be drug tested in order to receive free money but it’s completely okay to do it to keep a job/be hired? You’re logic is unreal.

        • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

          Well, the constiution says nothing about at will employment.

        • longfeltwant says:

          You have an extremely dim understanding of the Constitution. I don’t even know where to begin, except to recommend you pick up a book or talk to an informed person about it. Suffice it to say that the Constitution prohibits the government from doing all sorts of things that private actors can do with impunity. You really should learn about the Constitution and laws under which you live, because continuing on thinking things like you posted could lead you to some real legal trouble.

          • mszabo says:

            The constitution prevents the government from forcing you to take a drug test. I don’t think that has ever been proposed. The constitution doesn’t require the government provide aid to the needy either. So this would be equivilant to the time the Federal Government told all the states they must raise the drinking age to 21, or the Feds wouldn’t pay to maintain the roads. Completely voluntary extortion.

            I don’t think it is a good idea since your probably spending a dollar to save a nickel, but I don’t think it is unconstitutional

        • Bsamm09 says:

          Your grasp about what the constitution covers is unreal.

        • The Porkchop Express says:

          The constitution keeps the government, only the government, from searching without just cause.

          your employer is not bound by the constitution to not drug test, look through your work desk, or not fire you for what you say.

        • ancientone567 says:

          “Are you saying you are against drug testing for people who receive welfare?”

          YES!

          “You do realize that employers have been drug testing for years right?”

          Yes I do realize.

          “So, its violating your constitutional rights to be drug tested in order to receive free money but it’s completely okay to do it to keep a job/be hired? You’re logic is unreal.”

          Your employer is not the government and you agree and you agree to be tested if you take the job. It is their rules not the governments. Welfare is the government and they have no right to test you. That would be illegal search and seizure. I know the law well. Maybe you should go to a law library sometime. Also, Welfare is NOT a job.

          • partofme says:

            Can federal employees be subjected to drug tests? After you realize that the answer is, “Yes,” then you’ll realize why your idea is poor. There is a reason we have levels of scrutiny. Do they talk about that at law libraries?

          • ancientone567 says:

            People on welfare are not federal employees.

            • partofme says:

              No, but your line of reasoning would imply that the government could not test their employees… because they’re the government. This is provably false. Thus, your reasoning is provably false. The reason is that the government has a compelling interest in ensuring that their employees are not on drugs. Now, whether they have a special need to ensure that recipients of cash benefits from welfare programs are not on drugs is up to the government to argue and the courts to consider. It’s unquestionably not as simple as, “[It's] the government and they have no right to test you.”

    • Snoofin says:

      Yep, and test them for alcohol and cigarettes too since that money could be going toward their food and housing. We also have to make sure they dont have cable TV, a cell phone, broadband internet service (dialup is cheaper) If they pass all that then they get welfare and foodstamps, but if they dont have a job then they will also earn that welfare by doing community service such as picking up trash along the highway to earn it.

      • HowardRoarksTSquare says:

        I’m fine with that.

        This nation does a great job providing a safety net to those that are on “hard-times”. Guess what, when you’re not doing hot financially you have to cut back. Get rid of cable and get the antenna ears, go to the generic cereal, etc.

        This is meant to provide you from being out on the street homeless – not to let you “keep up with the Jones'”

        • suez says:

          Will you be willing to pay for all that monitoring and enforcing? Because I suspect that will be much more expensive.

          • MrEvil says:

            No kidding, in Florida they did start testing welfare recipients for drugs. You know what happened? The money they saved kicking those that tested positive wasn’t even a 10th of the cost of the drug testing in the first place. It’s called spending a dollar to save a nickel.

      • Not Given says:

        My local phone company charges the same for dial up as they do for the lowest tier DSL.

    • chargernj says:

      You’re silly. Drug test for welfare recipients has been found to be ipretty much a waste of money.

      http://www2.tbo.com/news/politics/2011/aug/24/3/welfare-drug-testing-yields-2-percent-positive-res-ar-252458/

      since the law went into effect in Florida, only 2% have tested positive for drugs. I would bet the company that performs the drug testing made more off of the Florida taxpayers than however much they saved by denying benefits to those people. Also, Gov Rick Scott founded a company that does drug testing in florida, which he then put into his wife’s name.

      Follow the money, and you will see what this program is really about. Socialism for the already rich, while denying benefits to the poor.

      • rugman11 says:

        I don’t necessarily agree with drug testing:

        But that’s a really biased article. Only 2% of those WHO TOOK THE TEST failed. An additional 2% declined to complete the application process once they were informed of the drug test requirement and, furthermore, applications have been 33% LOWER THAN EXPECTED.

        The way the process was set up, you had to pay for the test and were then reimbursed if you passed. The only people who took the test were the ones who thought they were going to pass. Anybody who knew they would fail didn’t apply.

        • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

          Well, you may be jumping to conclusions there. “Anybody who knew they would fail didn’t apply.” Or anybody who couldn’t afford to pay up-front for such a test. I’m not saying the test didn’t act as a deterrent, just that we can’t assume that this was only reason that applications were down 33%.

          • rugman11 says:

            That is true.

          • partofme says:

            And this is why the numbers being yelled as fact are not. All we know is that the real number is between 1.3% and 34.3%. It leaves plenty of room for the state saving or not saving, and it leaves plenty of room for the percentage of users to be above/below that of the general population (or even above/below that of published measures of use among the welfare population). Basically, that 2% number is useless, and people who continue to talk about it should not be taken seriously.

            • chargernj says:

              I’ll take those numbers provided by the USAtoday article before I accept your opinion. At least they tried to provide some sort of quantifiable data. You on the other hand seem to be basing your position on righteous indignation.

              • partofme says:

                Sorry. We’ve been through this before. The 2% number is just bad data (search the comments for me). Ya know what else we’ve been through? Actual published science… quantifiable data that tries to control for the horribly obvious selection bias (again, look for my comments).

                If you don’t want to take the time to look through it all, the executive summary is that the 2% number completely ignores the obvious effect of selection bias, while the actual published data shows about 4% of welfare users are physically dependent on illicit drugs (the strongest diagnostic category… not even including “substance abuse”, which involves repeated major social or personal problems stemming from substance use). A number closer to 20% has some recent history of use.

                You can put me on the side of data and put all those citing the 2% number as fact on the side of righteous indignation.

                • MutantMonkey says:

                  Where is the actual data? Both links you show are stories to political and judicial figures talking about the topic.

                  Also, where is your 20% number coming from?

                  • partofme says:

                    I mentioned to search the comments for me… because that’s where we actually discussed these things (the Consumerist editors would never probe for good data). To short-circuit your search, here is the publication we ended up discussing in the comments.

                    • MutantMonkey says:

                      So what we are looking at is about 11% used marijuana at least once in the last year in the years of 1994 and 1995.

                      So not only are we looking at very dated numbers, we are tying up tax dollars, we are doing so on what would likely be, if the numbers are still accurate, less than 10% of the welfare population at any given time.

                      Still it seems like a lot of money and effort for such a small percentage.

                    • partofme says:

                      First, you’re assuming that those who used drugs other than marijuana did not use marijuana. Second, you’re assuming that we’re not interested in discovering other types of drug usage. The numbers you mean to say is that 21% use, and 10% use at least one thing harder than marijuana. One out of five isn’t really a small number. Furthermore, as I detailed above, the idea is not just to save money. The idea is to improve the way in which we help people. Maybe we offer housing, food, health insurance, and counseling… but not cash benefits. All welfare drug testing programs I’ve seen can only reduce cash benefits if you fail… not any of the other forms of support.

                      Most importantly, notice that you’re not talking about 2% anymore. That’s really all I care about. You’ve stopped using bad data, and now have to begin trying to shade the real data to fit your agenda. I’m fine with that.

                    • MutantMonkey says:

                      I never said anything about 2%. And I used the numbers that pertained to this drug test.

                    • partofme says:

                      Sorry, I used the royal “you”. But I’m not quite sure what numbers you’re talking about. The NHSDA pretty clearly estimated 21% of welfare recipients had used an illegal drug in the year period.

                    • MutantMonkey says:

                      There are a number of illegal drugs that are either not testable with typical drug kits or drugs that can be out of your system quick enough that any sort of head notice makes the test a non-issue.

                      The key drug picked up by drug tests is Weed.

                    • partofme says:

                      If all you care about is weed, then we have a lower bound of 11%. Also, weed has similar detection periods as other drugs. It’s longer for chronic use (pun intended)… but so are many other drugs. All of this is beside the point.

                    • chargernj says:

                      Fair enough now that you have provided a link to an actual study.

                      But here are a few quotes I pulled from the article, none of which deny your point, but they do, IMO, reduce the justification for testing in the first place.

                      “Only a small minority of recipients (about 4 percent) satisfied the diagnostic screening criteria for illicit drug dependence (i.e., their drug use impairs their functioning in significant ways)”

                      “Although TANF recipients have become more disadvantaged along a number of characteristics related to health and mental health, substance abuse and dependence is not a major contributor in defining the core group of recipients remaining on the rolls. “

                      “Such findings suggest that policymakers and advocates have likely overstated the extent to which substance abuse contributes to continuing dependence on cash aid. “

                      Seems to me as though drug addiction is not a major problem for welfare families. So then what is the justification for wanting to drug test welfare recipients? Punishment, is the answer. You (the royal you that is) are offended that some people get government money and they also like to get high sometimes.

                      But where do you draw the line then? Do you also get to decide what kind of food they are allowed to buy with foodstamps, for their own good of course?

                      Do you tell them they are not allowed to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes?

                      Really what is your reason for thinking it is a good idea to drug test welfare recipients? It can’t be simply because drugs are illegal.

                    • partofme says:

                      Be careful with the 4% number. Read the actual diagnostic criteria for drug dependent as opposed to other levels of use (I’ve mentioned it above). I don’t think it means what you think it means.

                      Not the bulk, but a higher percentage than the general population. I never claimed any overwhelming correlation, just something we need to be concerned about.

                      Read the sentence after your third quote: “Yet there are still important reasons for concern.” There are good reasons why we’d like to identify drug use. It helps us better help people. That’s the goal. Not punish. Help. Knowing the truth of a situation helps. I know you want to put me in a box, but as soon as you stop stereotyping people who you think are your opponents and realize that we just have different opinions on how best to accomplish similar goals, you’ll stop using hyperbolic rhetoric.

                    • chargernj says:

                      But you seem to be taking the stance that you agree with this law. I’m wondering why you, and others with your opinion feel that it is ok to deny benefits to someone who fails a drug test. To me it comes off as a punitive act, a way of punishing someone for having the nerve to get high while collecting taxpayer dollars.

                      Should we also test for tobacco or alcohol? Because the same logic should apply I would think. Should we also give them a fitness test to ensure they are taking good care of their bodies?

                      Addiction is a horrible disease and those people need treatment, not judgment. But this law makes no distinction between someone who puffs an occasional marijuana joint, and a full blown heroin addict. Why is that fair to you?

                    • partofme says:

                      I’ll post my response as a new comment thread.

            • Kate says:

              You assume that adding this procedure has no cost. This is an expensive thing to do. You have to give everyone this test, not just the ones that would have failed it – and just adding the computer system to put this in could cost millions

              • partofme says:

                I have made no such assumption. It might save them money, it might not. We don’t have good data to say. More importantly, drug testing programs are not used just to deny people cash. They’re used to identify what might be part of the problem… which allows us to tailor the way we help them. Ignoring a possible cause, rather than making specific resources available, does not help. As such, even if drug testing costs money, one has to ask whether it makes the rest of the allocation of resources more effective. Counselors will know with a reasonably high likelihood whether drugs are involved, or if they should focus their discussion on other things. Without it, how are they to have any idea how best to help? If, at the end of the day, it costs a little bit more to better help people, well… that’s what we’re supposed to be doing. Drug testing is never in isolation. It’s a small part of a much larger program to try to help people.

      • az123 says:

        So 2% of those tested, was there a drop in the number of people trying to get assistance? If you know you will fail a test then a lot of people may drop off the system

    • suez says:

      Instead of that, why not ban the use of public assistance money to buy lottery tickets?

    • cigsm says:

      Except, mandating drug testing for those receiving public assistance doesn’t work. In the two states it’s been tried in, less then 1% of those tested have tested positive for drugs.

      In plain speak…it doesn’t work.

    • Kuri says:

      And then you start bitching about your taxes going up.

    • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

      And I even caught what you were doing without the /sarcasm tag. Check me out!!

  2. Dallas_shopper says:

    Wow…if she’s telling the truth, she’s an idiot.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      or she might be misinform… the stuff I hear people talk about through rumors are unbelievable.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        Definately. I think she was doing what she observed over the years with her fellow recipients.

        I’d just make her payback from the time she recieved the lottery check until now.

    • huadpe says:

      Or not. Some states only have an income test for food stamps, without an asset test. For example, I believe MA only has an income standard. Then again, for purposes of income, I think the million dollars counts.

  3. Hi_Hello says:

    hope the bill passes but it’s just a temporary fix.

    She lost her food stamps, after she lose who $1 million, she’ll be back on food stamps.

    • ancientone567 says:

      Actually that is not true. Depending on how much money you won you are barred from using the system. 1 million dollars would stop her for probably the rest of her natural life. That is why she should have used a special needs trust.

  4. El_Fez says:

    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.

    Insert “Can’t tell if trolling or just very stupid” picture of Fry here. . . .

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      After living in the Metro Detroit area for 11 years? Yeah, she is really this stupid. And this girl if your common white-trash, high school educated twit that cares only about one thing; herself.

      This mindset is the common denomiator in this area after decades of bluecollar, overpaid factory workers that have done nothing but drink and smoke their lives into the ground. And I can almost state for certain that at this moment, she is drinking beer, smoking cigs and dope, and throwing a temper-tantrum with her friends on FB or phone about her public assistance getting cut and you know what? “I don’t care what anyone says, they f-ing owe me, blah, blah, blah”.

      Here is the take away from this and I’ve witnessed this myself after many conversations with the same breed; She will never EVER EVER understand why what she is doing was wrong and amounts to lying and thievery. Where I come from, you dishonor yourself for doing such a thing. Here? The common idea is it is “owed to me”.

      I gotta move.

  5. GJaunts says:

    “$1 million doesn’t make you rich anyways”

    - Rich people

  6. StarKillerX says:

    Personally I think anyone on public assistance that wins any significant amount in the money they should be required to pay back for all the assistance they recieved.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      that’s how it should be done.

      When we came to America, we got lucky I got a plane ride instead of a boat ride.
      15 years, we got a bill for the plane ticket. Seems fair.

      My mom was on food stamps. I”m grateful for that. If there’s a place I can send them money back, I would…instead, I give back to the community my own way.

    • FacebookAppMaker says:

      Better yet, the money should be awarded to the welfare office, sans the cost of the ticket. Why should someone get rich off of public assistance?

    • ancientone567 says:

      Actually the are lol. They have to pay back certain types of state assistance up to a certain point.

    • Vermont2US says:

      She will, it’s called ‘taxes’.

    • Jawaka says:

      I don’t know about that. Are you also going to expect that people pay back unemployment assistance that they received once they find a job? I’m pretty sure that the taxes paid on a million dollars prize would probably pay back what she received in food stamps.

      • dks64 says:

        “Are you also going to expect that people pay back unemployment assistance that they received once they find a job?”

        Isn’t that something that they’ve already paid into? I’m pretty sure that’s how it works.

      • StarKillerX says:

        No as unemployment is in effect an insurance pool that your employer pays into as as such it’s not just a handout, or wasn’t until they extended it to 99 weeks

    • exconsumer says:

      And make it more likely that they stay on the dole? I don’t think that’s a very well thought out idea.

      No thanks, I prefer my social safety nets to actually serve as a safety net, and not pathway to permanent indentured servitude.

      • StarKillerX says:

        So, you support welfare recipients using the money they recieve for lottery tickets because it might result in them getting off welfare? Really?

  7. u1itn0w2day says:

    It spells it out, notify DHS if any changes in income & assets.

    I’ve known too many on unemployment and/or welfare that simply go through the process for their next check not thinking twice about the questions asked. I know with unemployment you have to answer questions like did you work or recieve any income over the last few weeks for every check. Apparently, services paid for by cash do not count as work & income…

    I don’t know if this women had criminal intent but I think all her welfare “buddies” gave her bad advice or she did what she observed over the years.

  8. DogiiKurugaa says:

    I would support legislation that requires all lottery winners to take a class on financial prudence so they don’t end up on welfare less than a year or two after they won all that money.

    • DogiiKurugaa says:

      Forgot to add that if they fail the class they are forced to take their winnings in payments instead of the lump sum.

    • dolemite says:

      My wife watches those shows about lottery winners. One of them stuck out to me. The guy was a farmer. He won 1 million. Instead of blowing it all or retiring, he bought new farm equipment that let him do his job 2x faster. He also fixed up his house (increase its value a lot). His one “splurge” was a corvette.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      That’s a good idea. I heard its the sameway for bankruptcy filings-you must take financial prudence courses to have your bankruptcy approved.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      That’s a good idea. I heard its the sameway for bankruptcy filings-you must take financial prudence courses to have your bankruptcy approved.

    • quirkyrachel says:

      +1 That was going to be my comment.

    • Zydia says:

      And not even just lottery winners. There should befinance classes in middle school, high school that go beyond the archaic balance-a-checkbook stuff.

  9. eezy-peezy says:

    It’s a good thing she got benefits to buy food, thus freeing up what cash she had to spend on lottery tickets.

  10. DragonThermo says:

    As it has been said by someone else, she is a member of the parasite class. Because she has no [non-lottery] income, no job, and no interest in getting a job, she believes it is her RIGHT to receive taxpayer-funded welfare. And parasites are allowed to vote!

    • chargernj says:

      hear hear, only landed white gentlemen should be allowed to vote, as our founding fathers intended.

      • BuntaFujiwara says:

        Way to miss the point.

        • chargernj says:

          oh no, I got the point. I just recognize any welfare system is going to be flawed in some ways that allow some people to take advantage. I just take offense to people on welfare being referred to as the “parasite class”. Most people on welfare use it as a temporary measure, they are not a “parasite class”.

          • partofme says:

            Is there a possible difference between “most people on welfare” and “this particular person”?

            • chargernj says:

              actually yes there is. If the original comment was, “this person is a parasite” it wouldn’t have bothered me.

              But when someone says, “she is a member of the parasite class” it implies that there is a collective group of people who can be called the, “parasite class”. That very phrase has been used for many years by racist, bigoted, hateful people as a code phrases to incite the right wing against the poor and most especially black people.

              Maybe the original comment wasn’t meant to be taken that way, but if you use coded phrases, even if you didn’t realize you were doing so, don’t be surprised if people take it that way.

              • partofme says:

                Let me know where I can buy your decoder ring. I suppose you should also be forced to learn all of my math and science vocabulary before we can have a reasonable discussion….

                Extra note: I did a totally unscientific first-page-of-google search to see if there was a consensus that I was just somehow missing. They’re pretty much all focused on leeching off the government, but most often, they refer to “fat cat capitalists” who manipulate the government, while others move on to politicians directly, academics whose universities are supported by the government, and tax accountants, etc (and even programming terminology!). Not one focused on welfare in particular… and none of those above groups seem to represent the poor or black necessarily.

                Wikipedia even gives some history… which is almost all anti-fat cats. The welfare thing is a relatively new invention. There has been talk of the parasite class long before your decoder ring was forged. It doesn’t seem to have ever been focused against a single type of parasite. There are many many species in a class.

  11. 180CS says:

    I’m sorry, but this whole story bothers me.

    I’m all for welfare programs. People need them. But there should be a decent number of strings attached. If you can afford a lottery ticket, for example, you can afford your own damn food.

    • taaurrus says:

      So ~ if I can afford to spend ONE DOLLAR on lottery ticket ~ then using YOUR logic ~ I should then be able to afford HUNDREDS of dollars a month for food for my family? Really? I don’t agree with what this woman did but your comment is ridiculous.

      • SavijMuhdrox says:

        the comment is spot on. if its acceptable for her to spend $1 on a lotto ticket, then what about $4 for a nice magazine.. oh and then maybe a nice handbag to carry food stamps in..

        where do you draw the line?

        • ovalseven says:

          You don’t draw the line. If you fit the income requirements for food stamps, you can get them and spend your remaining income however you’d like. If a $1 lottery ticket or a $4 magazine is within your budget, it’s not our place to say you can’t have it.

          • HowardRoarksTSquare says:

            Except it’s not within your budget because you are relying on the government to pay your bills

            • ovalseven says:

              Not bills. Just food.

              If a food stamp recipient wants to walk to work for a few days, then spend the gas money they saved on something fun, why not?

              • SavijMuhdrox says:

                but what if? but what if? but what if?

                oh malarkey. yet another silly and outlandish, yet still completely plausible, excuse for bad behavior.

                • ovalseven says:

                  Yeah, you’re right. Nevermind. Assistance recipients don’t deserve any happiness in their lives. Those people should just be happy they can even eat.

          • BuntaFujiwara says:

            Then we should be able to go over and read that magazine WE paid for. Let’s be honest. Do you really believe she only bought 1 lottery ticket? And her disposable income is OUR tax dollars, that is unacceptable.

      • partofme says:

        Do you like to eat more than you like to play the lottery? If you can afford to spend ONE DOLLAR on the lottery, it means that you have ONE DOLLAR left over after buying food for your family.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        @taaurrus; missed the point. She needs to prioritize her disposable income and use it for what is important such as food. One dollar is not a lot but if she can afford a one dollar lottery ticket, then she has no business complaining about the lack of funds for necessities.

        What we need to do in this country is to eliminate food stamps and assistance altogether. It was a nice idea but it’s become a way of life for generations of families.

        Everyone that can breathe, can work.

        • Kuri says:

          And then a good number of people are worse off because they can’t find the jobs are are supposedly all over the place.

  12. Kitty with attitude says:

    In the CNN article, she is quoted as saying, “It’s hard. I am struggling.” Really? Just REALLY? 500K & she has the nerve to say that she is struggling & deserves public assistance. I can’t begin to understand how people feel so entitled to someone else paying their bills.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      An obvious bit that seems to be missing from everyone’s responses is the likelihood that this person does not actually have 1M dollars in her hand and likely never will. More likely, this 1M will be spread out in a number of 20 or so annual payments.

      So she’s hardly “rich”.

      …still probably “too rich for welfare” though.

      She’s not exactly Scrooge McDuck.

      • Kitty with attitude says:

        She took a lump sum payout of that $1mil. So, no, she doesn’t have $1 million in her hands but still. She took $500K payout, paid her taxes, & still collected welfare.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        She took the lump sum payment, and I saw her on a news show last night. I think it was the ABC news. Anyway, after taking the lump sum payment, and after taxes, she was left with only $500,000. And then she bought a house. And still has the first house. And no job.

        She shouldn’t still receive food stamps. It’s not the state’s fault she an irresponsible twit.

  13. jsweitz says:

    The Lottery – the only true tax on the poor.

    I prefer to call it the idiot tax.

    It was nice of the producer class of Michigan to feed her while she wasted her “own” money on lotto tickets.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Several years back a story went national about a couple who moved from Canada to NYS. She was pregnant and they filed for medicaid as their their only income was something like $1500 a month, or something like that in interested on the close to one million dollars they had in the bank.

  14. PlumeNoir - Thank you? No problem! says:

    If I recall, didn’t this also happen last year in western Michigan, but it worked out because of the way the lottery was considered a windfall and not a regular income, the guy could continue getting food stamps?

  15. jrwn says:

    The government did something logical? Quick, we need to start firing people!!

  16. remusrm says:

    i think winning lottery has nothing to do with her status… is not like she got a job…

    • bsh0544 says:

      You don’t need a job to pay bills, you need money, which she now has. Government assistance is not a consolation prize for those who aren’t employed, they’re a way for those who can’t otherwise afford basic necessities to hang on until they can get back on their feet.

  17. Deep Cover says:

    Can we start mandatory drug testing for our elected officials?

    Plus, instead of worrying about the pennies saved from this food stamp fraud, can we try to recoup the $85 billion we gave to AIG? That is where the REAL MONEY is at.

  18. kurtmac says:

    Great! Now that we’ve brought this one no-name abuser of the system to justice, we’re going to go after the heads of Wall Street investment firms that got bailed-out on the taxpayer’s dime only to receive windfall multi-million dollar bonuses at the end of the year, right?! Buahahaha! Oh, boy, I do crack myself up sometimes.

  19. exconsumer says:

    Welfare recipient goes on the dole for 18 months and finds decent job, stops?

    Single mom leverages government program towards career in nursing?

    WIC beneficiary grows up to be architect?

    Oh sorry, it’s more fun to pretend that these kind of things don’t happen.

    • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

      Woman on public assistance writes Harry Potter books, pays hundreds of millions of Euros in taxes …

      • comedian says:

        Why would she pay her taxes in a currency her country doesn’t use? Is that some sort of bizarre penalty system for people who took handouts?

  20. swarrior216 says:

    She’ll just reapply once the money runs out.

  21. Nidoking says:

    Of course, if the state imposes “penalties” or “requirements” on lottery winnings from their target demographic, they’ll lose a lot of ticket sales. Nothing like telling people their free money will disappear if they win a lottery to make them choose the free money.

  22. MacUser1986 says:

    All due respect but if you have that type of winnings why do you need food stamps? Why should the tax payer have to pay out for someone who has it?

    It’s not morally right…

  23. Press1forDialTone says:

    Just like Mrs. Romney said recently (who shares 200+ million dollars in
    personal wealth between them) “I don’t really consider myself wealthy!”

    Google it.

    Vote Obama 2012! Stop the madness!

    • Kuri says:

      Yeah, bragging about your family’s Cadillacs isn’t exactly a good thing to do in a city like Detroit.

    • axhandler1 says:

      You misspelled Ron Paul. Totally agree though, vote Ron Paul 2012! Stop the madness!

      • Kuri says:

        And then we get worse madness if he abolishes antitrust laws.

        • axhandler1 says:

          Lol, I really don’t care about what the effects are, I just think that we need some drastic changes in politics to shake things up and get us out of this spiral. And he is the only one who is offering drastic change. Every single other candidate, Obama included, is basically offering 4 more years of the exact same thing. Fuck it, let’s try something different and radical and see what happens. But yeah, if he is elected, I may get a gun and start stockpiling food, just in case.

    • az123 says:

      You do know when you want to stop the madness it is preferable that you are not encouraging us to keep the people who are currently in power to remain there…. at some level they must be contributing to the madness

  24. Hoss says:

    If she pays off her (home) mortgage with the post-tax part, she should be able to restart food stamps

  25. technoreaper says:

    Michigan is full of trash like this woman who don’t understand what personal responsibility is about. Listen to her in the interview in her driveway. She’s clearly not a bright person, likely even borderline special ed. Unfortunately, she’s typical of several Michigan workers that I’ve had to deal with. Is it the unions that are to blame? Maybe. It might be the fact that Michiganders don’t value an education. It’s sad, all around.

  26. ned4spd8874 says:

    Hopefully they’ll make her pay back the money she’s gotten at the very least.

  27. dush says:

    Shucks…I wish I didn’t have any other income besides millions of lottery dollars.

  28. 2 Replies says:

    September 11th.
    Interesting…

    SHE’S A TERRORIST!!

  29. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    They should make the morally bankrupt idiot pay it back and ban her from receiving any future benefits.

  30. mulch says:

    Then we really should make all federal employees submit to drug testing. I’d like to see the results on that little experiment.

  31. jacobs cows says:

    Draft these slime into the army and send our soldiers back home

  32. jacobs cows says:

    The Detroit newspapers also said she owns 2 homes.She ought to at least pay back the food stamp money she has collected since she won the lottery.It is people like her that make a bad name for people that need welfare for short time not life time.

  33. partofme says:

    ***This is a response to chargernj***

    It has nothing to do with having the nerve to get high. But there are a few things at play here. Mainly, there is no comparison between any legal product and an illegal product. Could someone be so addicted to Xbox that it hinders their ability to get out and find work? Yes. If the counselors find out about this, they would do well to address it… but it’s unlikely to happen. Tobacco is addictive, but it’s unlikely to prevent someone from attaining self-sufficiency. There’s not really any good lines of demarcation for any of these legal things.

    Alcohol would be the one big legal product that is reasonably addictive and more likely to cause a barrier to self-sufficiency. But again, it’s a legal product. There are codified differences with respect to amount, time, and place. Simple detection is not enough. I would, however, support removing cash benefits to anyone who gets a DUI or other reasonably major alcohol-related conviction while on welfare. Note the presence of a crime committed due to substance abuse and possibly addiction (also likely supported by the sparse excess cash).

    Illegal drugs, on the other hand, are illegal. As a group, they generally have addictive properties, and as the NPC acknowledged, they are barriers to self-sufficiency. As the NPC acknowledged, we need to utilize this only in context of a comprehensive scheme to help people attain self-sufficiency. It makes little sense to support an illegal and possibly expensive barrier to self-sufficiency with cash benefits. Again, I would support doing the same for illegal forms of alcohol abuse. But most importantly, it’s a marker to the counselors. They can try to judge whether the person is a full-blown heroin addict who they should try to get into rehab, or just an idiot who had his occassional joint the day before he knew he had to pee in a cup (so they can focus on other possible barriers). But it’d be nice to be able to make that judgement rather than having them walk in the door and walk right back out with cash money.

    You can keep trying to yell “PUNISHMENT!” if you want… but derailment doesn’t really win opinions. Why do you think it’s a bad idea to gather information on an illegal and potentially expensive barrier to self-sufficiency and then tailor our help to that information?

    • chargernj says:

      I see that we will probably never see eye to eye on this issue. But here is my final thoughts.

      1. I do feel that there can be a valid comparisons between legal and illegal substances. Laws can be unfair and laws can be unjust. The distinction between legal intoxicants and illegal intoxicants are in some cases (like marijuana) arbitrary. You will never convince me that tobacco and alcohol which can and do kill their users are somehow more acceptable than a drug like marijuana which has no known instances of death attributed to usage. Operating a vehicle while high is of course stupid and should be a crime no matter what substance you used.

      2. The drug laws in this country are broken and are in need of reform. Until they are fixed, I cannot support any law that penalizes people without a mechanism that provides treatment for addiction. I also don’t like the “one” strike mentality of the law as it will harshly penalize someone who is a casual or occasional user the same as if they were a full blown addict.

      3. The fact the Florida Governor Brown will be making money off of the drug testing through a company his wife owns also makes me angry. I always thought elected official were not allowed to financially benefit off of legislation they enact, seems unethical to me.

      • partofme says:

        1. And now we come to the truth. You really only care about marijuana. The problem is that no matter how good of an argument you may think you have (or even may actually have) concerning a particular drug, it doesn’t change the broader logic. This is similar to arguments about the CSA in general. Some people think that because it may not work perfectly in all the details that the whole thing must be disallowed… regardless of whether the government has a compelling interest to restrict the flow of various levels of narcotics, antibiotics, date rape drugs, or low-production drugs prone to market shortages. You can make your argument about marijuana, but that doesn’t change the broader picture of drug testing. If you win your argument about marijuana, it will no longer be on the list… and drug testing will still be as valid as before.

        2. You don’t think our system provides treatment for addiction? Just this morning, there was a Room for Debate in the NY Times. It was focused on racial matters, but by design spilled over into drug laws. A former NY State Supreme Court Judge reminded us,

        Prosecutors, particularly in areas like New York City, are very concerned about ruining peoples’ lives. The have active and aggressive diversion and rehabilitation programs for drug offenders and others to avoid criminal convictions; and no one receives a criminal conviction for minor marijuana possession.

        This is supported by my very unscientific experience in what may be described as the opposite of NYC. I know plenty of people who have received fines and/or some form of court-ordered treatment for marijuana possession; the only one who received any jail time got it not for the marijuana, but for providing alcohol to minors. Furthermore, you claim that this particular type of law provides no treatment for addiction. That point of view has to ignore the entire comprehensive scheme which focuses on treatment and attaining self-sufficiency. You can’t really point someone to useful treatment unless you have a good idea of what’s going on.

        “Harshly penalize”? More like, “Restrict cash benefits for six months or a year.” And remember that we’re only talking about cash benefits. No drug testing scheme has ever been in place to restrict benefits of food, housing, heat/electricity, health insurance, etc. And like I said earlier, if you’re really an occasional user, you’re pretty much an idiot for getting caught. The counselors can take those six months to focus on other barriers to self-sufficiency… like being an idiot. As an additional note, these kinds of laws almost always contain expressed provisions forbidding the use of test results in any criminal proceeding. The ‘harsh penalties’ do not extend beyond a short-term restriction in cash benefits.

        3. I agree. They should not be able to. Again, a detail does not invalidate a principle. If the elected official who eventually led the way to legalizing marijuana turned out to profit from a company who was prepping to sell the newly legalized product, would you argue that marijuana should be illegal?