Michigan Woman Who Won $1 Million In Lottery Stays On Food Stamps

It’s not unheard of for recent Michigan lottery winners to consider themselves so hard up that they subsist on food stamps. Following last year’s revelation that a Michigan man who won $2 million in the state lottery remained on welfare, now there are reports that a woman who snagged $1 million in winnings is doing the same.

She tells the Daily Mail that she needs $200 a month in government assistance because she’s got more money, more problems and no job. “‘I feel that it’s okay because I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay,” she said. “I have two houses.”

State politicians are trying to stop embarrassing stories like this from emerging by considering a bill that would prevent lottery winners from using food stamps. Such a law — intended to stop rich people from mooching off the system — might have unintended consequences, because there are so many stories about lottery winners who blow all their winnings and end up penniless and badly in need of a safety net.

‘It’s okay because I’m not working: Woman, 24, who just won $1MILLION lottery and bought a new home all cash is STILL collecting welfare [Daily Mail via Fark]


Edit Your Comment

  1. MonkeyMonk says:

    Sigh. The sad part is that I’m sure someone in the GOP will latch onto these stories as an excuse why welfare and food stamps need to be entirely abolished.

    • atthec44 says:

      Not abolished but seriously reformed.

      • dulcinea47 says:

        Welfare reform isn’t going to prevent people from being idiots, which is the only problem in this case. The government can’t legislate how people spend their money, they can’t say, “If you GET some money, don’t be an idiot with it, and then you won’t need welfare anymore!”

        • TuxthePenguin says:

          Actually, yes it can. Winnings are reported to the government. There should be a flag set that any time someone’s reported earnings exceed the limit, welfare gets cut off. Period.

      • Chairman-Meow says:

        The sad part in all of this is even though she won 1 million, she still felt *entitled* to Welfare
        because she had no job.

        Sounds to me like she’s been in “the system” a tad too long.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      The sad part is I’m sure someone in the left will latch onto these stories as an excuse why welfare and food stamps are okay the way they are as they do more good than the fraud and waste going on inside of them. /sarc

      Except for the most looney, most people agree that there needs to be some sort of social safety net. But when you can win the lottery and stay on that safety net, there is something seriously wrong. Or should we just change it and let anyone who wants that extra money have it?

      • SavijMuhdrox says:

        When you pull your food stamps out of your Prada handbag to buy milk and bread and other essentials in the front of your shopping cart.. and then purchase everything in the back of your cart with cold hard cash.. and finally wheel the shopping cart out to your Benz..

        yeah.. the system needs an overhaul.

        • ianmac47 says:

          What you are describing sounds like tax fraud — unreported cash income. So yes, we probably do need to overhaul the IRS and the tax code.

          • ChuckECheese says:

            Actually what Savij is describing sounds a lot like an old Reagan-era fairy tale about welfare queens.

            • hansolo247 says:

              Not a fairy tale.

              The person that lived in my condo before me:
              -Kids in $3K a month private school
              -$500K condo
              -received food stamps.

              • thezone says:

                Quick question? How do you know the financials of the person who lived in the condo before you? Were they still working? Maybe they had just lost their job and were living off of savings. Are you saying that they were still working as an attorney and were receiving food stamps? If so why didn’t you do your civic duty and report them for fraud. If you did anything short of that you are either not telling the whole story or you are part of the problem.

      • Nobby says:

        Should highly profitable companies/industries have their welfare subsidies cut off too, is that different?

        • TheMansfieldMauler says:

          Same thing, they should also be cut off. And that doesn’t just go for “highly profitable” businesses. A company should live or die by competing in the marketplace, not by political connections.

        • TuxthePenguin says:

          What do you mean by welfare? Subsidies? Sure, but you’re probably not thinking of a real subsidy, but rather tax deductions and credits they qualify for.

          But I’d LOVE to revise the corporate and individual tax codes. But it won’t ever happen to the level that would be needed – those places are just rife with opportunity for graft and political payback to donors.

    • Nobby says:

      Before I read the story, I said a little prayer. I prayed “please don’t be black, please don’t be black”.

      Glad my prayer was answered. I needed a little break from the steady stream of negative stuff that causes people to look at me with scorn even though I work my butt off 60 hours a week. I’m tired of being stereotyped because of those who perpetuate stereotypes, if that makes sense.

      But yeah, this story is crazy.

      • tbax929 says:

        I did the same thing. I do that every time I see a headline that I think could be fuel for the racists out there. I think to myself: “Please, please, please don’t be black.”

        • BelleSade says:

          I usually think “Please don’t be black or worse Hispanic because then they’ll think we’re all illegals”

    • castlecraver says:

      They’re welcome to do so just as soon as they apply the same logic to abolishing corporate welfare.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        I’ve always wanted to know… what do you mean by “corporate welfare”? True Subsidies? I’m fine with that, but just know its going to hit your agriculture industries much harder than anything else.

        Or do you mean “subsidies” in the way that Obama and Democrats have been incorrectly using the term since… well, as long as I can remember. By this you really mean “tax credits” and “tax deductions” that lower the amount of taxes that a corporation has to pay. See, those aren’t subsidies because cash isn’t being sent to them. Yes, in effect they might have a similar effect, but in terms of accounting and finance, they are two very different things (biggest, a subsidy can be recognized as revenue, a tax credit or deduction cannot).

        I’m all for revising the tax code… but politicians never will. Its the #1 place to pay back campaign donors and an endless source of opportunity for graft.

        • RandomHookup says:

          Very little of what people call “corporate welfare” is really a subsidy, as far as I know (unless you want to start talking about mega-farmers), but it’s usually the tax abatements, local and federal, for doing something or not doing something. An example would be the tax holiday for companies to bring stranded cash (profits that are taxed at 0% in Caymans or Bermuda) back into the US. Usually they would be taxed at 35% on those, but in 2005, Congress gave them a tax holiday and taxed at only 5%. Instead of the promised jobs this would create by bringing cash back into the country, companies laid off workers and used the cash to buy back stock, raising the value of the shares held by the CEO.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        I agree. Solyndra is the posterchild for doing so.

    • jessjj347 says:

      I seriously hope not considering this article came from a tabloid.
      Sorry this site is continually frustrating me because of:
      a) the site using tabloids as sources
      b) people believing the articles from tabloids
      c) people not even knowing that the articles are coming from tabloids

      • SissyOPinion says:

        A tabloid which sites a legitimate Detroit news outlet. Just because a newspaper is sensationalist doesn’t mean they don’t have a legitimate story.

    • hansolo247 says:

      no, but they could take a haircut with no detriment to the public good.

      • Geekybiker says:

        Sure, but when a person on welfare threatens to move offshore you throw a party. If a corporation threatens to move offshore, It’ll do more harm than good.

    • Panzer1963 says:

      Sorry folks. Your family should be the first source of your assistance when you need help. Your church (if you have one) the second, and public charities the third. ONly if you can reasonably demonstrate that you have tried all of the above and not been able to get the BASIC needs that are required to live and ONLY then, should you be considered for welfare, foodstamps, etc. Irrespective of your race, color, creed, etc.

      It is not the government’s job (aka my wallet’s job) to bail you out if you lose your job, house, or are unwilling or unable to get off your ass and try to fix the situation you are in.

      Not against truly helping those in need, but let’s get back to private sources as the first line of support instead of the government.

      • thezone says:

        Panzer, you do realize that when people lose their job and they receive unemployment benefits they are just collecting the money they put into the system themselves. People’s benefits are based on the salary they made because they were contributing to unemployment insurance.

        Second, it is the government’s job (aka all of our wallets not just your’s) to have a social safety net because we decided as a group to do so. People should not have to have a nice family, or be be subjected to religious views they don’t support or go to private charities to live. Nearly everyone pays taxes into the system.

        Oh and as far as your private sources go. If they were working then the laws would have never have been changed. It’s funny, I doubt you complain about all the government assistance you receive everyday. And before you say you don’t please remember that your education was publicly financed, and the roads you drove on and the interest deduction you probably took for you house. Oh and the internet you used to type here. You don’t get to pick and choose the things you alone feel are valuable. Grow up.

        • Bsamm09 says:

          In the vast majority of states, employees pay nothing into unemployment insurance. That’s why a lot of employers fight UI benefits, because their premiums raise the more claims are filed.

        • rushevents says:

          Dum da Dum Dum….

          Just the facts ma’mm.

          Employees DO NOT pay into unemployment… EMPLOYERS pay it through a required unemployment insurance policy sold to them by either the company’s home state or the state in which the employee lives (as in the case of large multistate employers).

          So one more time for those in the cheap seats EMPLOYEES DO NOT PAY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, EMPLOYERS DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Kuri says:

        And when their family is all the way across the country, or CAN’T offer any help?

        Oh, right, according to some we live in a just world, it’d be because they deserve it.

        • missminimonster says:

          Or, like in my case, the family is all dead.

          I’ve noticed, though, that the people who spend the most time crowing about leaving this kind of thing up to private charities (and I work for one) are also the last people who are willing to donate to them.

          To Panzer above, it is not a perfect world. You’ve obviously never had to worry about things like this and you don’t know just how lucky you are.

          • Perdair says:

            It’s not that we shouldn’t pitch in and help each other out, we definitely should. But should we be FORCED to? If you’re using taxes for social services, then you’re forcing people to help out (because men with guns will put you in jail if you don’t pay them.)

            I’m sort of undecided myself. I totally get that some people need help. I’m not some kind of monster that’s gonna say “let ’em die if they can’t support themselves” but I also wonder if the cost to liberty is too high.

            • kujospam says:

              Yes, you should be forced to be a moral person. Otherwise you will tend not to be moral. That is just the nature of things.

              • Perdair says:

                Who gets to decide what is moral? I like to think no one owns me but me. I get to decide the meaning of my own life, and I should have the liberty to do so, as long as I don’t infringe on others ability to do the same.
                Assuming people will behave in an unethical manner unless they’re forced to be ethical is just a terrible view of human nature. People are not inherently bad.

          • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

            The types who complain also forget that this money benefits the economy and their cherished big business. Take away food stamps and other assistance, and those people wouldn’t have that money to put into the economy. Business profits would decline, more people would lose their jobs and need assistance, then less money would be available to go into the economy, and so on. Entitlements get put right back into the hands of businesses and actually benefit society with jobs, etc….

      • jesusofcool says:

        Here’s the hole I see in your argument (and the argument for abolishing taxation for the purpose of supporting social services) – where’s the money for the public charities going to come from? It’s going from either government grants (still your tax dollars at work!) or it’s (theoretically) going to come from charitable, well-meaning individuals (and there just aren’t enough of those people).

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        Actually, it is the government’s (society’s) job to help those in need since legislation has been passed to that effect. It was passed into law by elected officials who represent the majority opinion too. If you don’t want to participate in our collective government, then you shouldn’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way to Mexico or wherever else it is you might can go and hold on to your money while poor children go hungry in the streets.

    • alana0j says:

      That’s what scares me. as a mother of two who does work and goes to school I do have to utilize some government assistance and bitches like that make us all look bad….

  2. u1itn0w2day says:

    She says more money equals more problems OR she hasn’t a clue how to manage money.

    How about an interest bearing checking or money market account for starters. OR how about not spending it all at once. You know, impulse control.

    • catskyfire says:

      If she’s been poor and broke for awhile, those things aren’t even on her radar.

    • Buckus says:

      Well, let’s say the winning was a lump-sum payment. The tax rate in Michigan is about 35% for lottery winnings, so she’s down to $650,000 before even receiving a penny.

      let’s lop off $100,000 for a shopping spree because, let’s face it, if you came into a large amount of money you’d do that to. So there, she’s down to $550,000.

      Now, let’s put that into one of those AWESOME money market accounts earning 0.25%.

      Her yield on that? A measly $1,375. Per year.

      Perhaps if she lives now like she did before, but just paid off all debt, and used about $25,000 a year on expenses, she could live about 22 years without any extra income.

      But still…

      A million bucks ain’t what it used to be…

      • Zachary Jacob Zblewski says:

        The article says she was left with just over $500,000 after taxes. So yeah, you’re right.

    • Lightweight says:

      I think it’s a fairly safe bet that people who play the lottery have no clue how to manage money, pretty much by definition.

      • Chairman-Meow says:

        Yep. I see the dopes all the time in line buying $10.00 scratch tickets.

        I just want to shake them and scream into their face that the odds are way-way against them of winning anything. Of course most of them also buy cigarettes too with their losing tickets.

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

    …two houses?

    Sure, if he sold one it might end up going for less than she’d like…but does that mean she has two mortgages? That $1 million won’t last long in her hands.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Yeh, two houses and million dollars. Which house is going to hold the pity party.

    • hmburgers says:

      Two things…

      1) It sounds like the second house came after the winnings…

      2) I’m pretty that even an economy model Hyundai costs more than your average Michigan home…

      So I’m not defending her receiving these food stamps by any means… but I also think we need to make sure we have perspective on what it means to be a new home owner in many parts of MI.

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

        I have heard before that the combination of a bad housing market, and the general undesireable nature of some areas in MI, make houses quite cheap.

        That brings the question…if you have $1,000,000…why not buy a house elsewhere? Why TWO houses in MI?

        • StarKillerX says:

          Because they will let her stay on food stamps, why else?

          I mean she could use the money to learn a skill so once she blows the money she can get a job, but that’s not likely to happen either.

        • Errr... says:

          She lives in Lincoln Park, which is not a particularly nice area. Houses are going for $29,000 to $133,000 in that area right now (as listed on realtor.com). There’s no reason for her to have two mortgages.
          Not all areas of Michigan are undesirable. I live in Ann Arbor and the housing market is slower, but houses still sell. My house is worth more than I owe on it. And at no point in my life would I ever want to live in Lincoln Park. It wasn’t a particularly nice area before the housing bubble burst either.

  4. caradrake says:

    She has two houses, plus she won the lottery, and she needs food stamps? Why not sell one of the houses, or rent it out if she’s unable to sell it? And isn’t lottery winnings counted as income? It sounds like she bought the second house with the lottery money. Dude, you totally don’t need welfare if you are able to BUY A HOUSE.

    I would hate to see a ruling where all lottery winners are prohibited from applying for welfare, since usually if you win the lottery, you get a nice windfall, but it’s definitely not going to replace a job or even be a significant portion of your income.

    It’s sad that it seems like public shaming isn’t working.

    I do wonder – why is a UK news source being used for something that happened in Michigan?

    • atthec44 says:

      Probably because the mainstream media in the United States doesn’t want you to know that people abuse entitlement programs.

      • Mr. Spy says:

        That sounds paranoid, but if you haven’t watched BBC World News on BBCA, you probably think that CNN or Foxnews are pretty good channels. After one program you start to realize that our 24 hour news channels are more like 10 minute news channels that repeat the same things over and over. And God. The idea of political leaning stations makes me sick. It’s like CNN went left because Fox went right.

        • atthec44 says:

          After I wrote that I realized how “conspiracy theory” it sounded but it really isn’t too far off. Most of the major media outlets in the US lean to the left and the left loves entitlements. Hence my claim that the mainstream media doesn’t really want to report that entitlements can be abused.

          • Conformist138 says:

            Actually, an overwhelming majority of people who benefit from these programs get out of them in reasonable time and don’t take advantage. The problem is that we hear of a few cases of people being jerks and the knee-jerk reaction is to yank the plug entirely. That’s the wrong attitude- Check to see what the real rate of abuse is (or rather, the best estimate) and if it’s low, let it go. Some people will cheat, some people will get something for nothing, but in the end we waste time by trying to get rid of them entirely.

            it’s like the drug tests for welfare recipients- 2% isn’t enough to justify the expense of the tests and the whole effort becomes a waste.

            Besides, if it’s the leftist American press that loves entitlement programs and the UK press exposing the abuse, why do all citizens in the UK have access to government funded health care? And why do Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt technically qualify for assistance in France (where they have had residency)? European countries have entitlement programs, too. ALL first world countries do.

        • Coelacanth says:

          I don’t know. When I was in the UK, it seemed that BBC News repeated the same stories just like the US mainstream media. I was quite disappointed.

        • drjayphd says:

          CNN didn’t go left. MSNBC went left. CNN went LAAA-HAAAA-HAAAAZY. The only thing stopping me from putting a bullet in my brain is that at about 7 p.m., it’s sports o’clock, which means I can change the channel on the newsroom TV from CNN to, say, ESPN, and no one objects.

      • chargernj says:

        It’s a well known fact that some people abuse welfare programs, what is lees well known is that most welfare recipients are off the program within two years. Stories like this are newsworthy because they are the exception, not the norm.

    • apple420 says:

      I don’t think we should totally rule out food stamps for people who have bought a house. People do come on tough times, and food stamps can help in those situations.

      • Firethorn says:

        I don’t think people are latching onto the house. They’re latching onto the TWO houses.

        Of course, my parents have two houses to their name – one is my brother’s. He’s currently unemployed, due to a combination of ‘his own fault’ and the housing meltdown(he was a new home electrician). So if it’s a situation like that, I can understand having two homes.

        I’ve heard plenty about the poor money management skills of a lottery winner, such as buying a house with a mortgage when they have the cash or one with payments higher than their annual payout.

      • caradrake says:

        Oh, neither do I. I think the issue is that she won the lottery, bought a *second* house plus a new car, and still claims to be so badly off, so struggling, that she still needs welfare. I think that if you can afford to outright buy a house while on welfare, maybe you don’t need welfare.

        I think it is totally possible and plausible to actually get a mortgage while on welfare, if it is cheaper than renting and such – it’ll free up some income so maybe you can get off welfare and onto your own feet quicker. I think you need to examine your situation for yourself, and I don’t think we should say “You are taking gov’t money, no home for you!” but there really need to be some checks in place.

        I really think that government welfare programs need to come with mandatory money management classes. Educate people how to stretch their money, how to budget and save, which can only help. In certain cases, if you have a two-adult household, you are required to work in a welfare-supplied job for a certain amount of hours a week. It might even be an unpaid job, in exchange for the benefits. I think that classes (budgeting, fiances, parenting, etc) might actually be more beneficial than ‘make work.’ I know it is difficult if you are a single parent raising kids, to find the time, in which case I think the local office should work with the parents – provide a daycare during the class times, etc.

    • tbax929 says:

      If you read Fark, you learn very quickly that some of the strangest things that happen in the US get reported by the “Daily Fail”. They seem to love stories that make Americans seem like… well, Americans! (I kid, I kid.)

  5. Coles_Law says:

    I;m curious as to how to enforce something like that. If you go by income, then the year they win they’ll clearly be disqualified, but after that, they’d be back to a no job/low paying job’s income and would qualify again. Do you just say “If you win the lottery, you can never get food stamps again”? Then, what constitutes a lottery win? What if I win $5? Or, what if I win the top prize in a daily lotto, typically a couple grand? I ‘won’ that lottery, didn’t I?

    • atthec44 says:

      Could eligibility be based on total assets rather than just income?

      • sirwired says:

        Then you have to ask what assets to include in the means test, and which to exclude. If own an extravagant $500,000 house, on paper it looks like I have a $500,000 asset. But if I can’t sell that house and can’t get a home equity loan (because I have no job), the house’s ability to buy food is zero.

        Certainly somebody with extensive liquid assets should be unable to collect food stamps, but beyond that, we are in the realm of very complex rules that usually have the primary effect of hurting people that need the help. (As in, if you are trying (and failing) to make ends meet via a crappy McJob, you probably don’t have a great deal of time to spend filling out piles of financial disclosure forms.)

        I don’t think stupid lottery winners are such a huge burden on the system that a large system of forms, paperwork, and verification checks is necessary.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          Other safety-net programs do look at total assets. I think food stamps are intentionally pretty liberal in their screening, since they’re so heavily geared towards children.

        • LiveToEat says:

          After Hurricane Gustav or one of those, people in Louisiana who applied for the food assistance program (to replace food they lost due to no electricity for a few days) had to bring in bank statements showing how much money they had in the bank. My friend saw one woman get irate that she didn’t qualify due to having a savings account with $50,000 in it. She argued that the $50k was her emergency fund and she didn’t want to have to dip in to it. If they can check accounts for something like that, then why can’t they check accounts for welfare? I know some people would still get around the check by putting money in an account with someone elses name, but would be better than nothing.

          I just can’t get over people who think using the system is okay. I would feel like I’m taking money away from someone who really needs it and like I’m robbing all of my fellow Americans.

          • hmburgers says:

            “My friend saw one woman get irate that she didn’t qualify due to having a savings account with $50,000 in it. She argued that the $50k was her emergency fund and she didn’t want to have to dip in to it.”

            That would really bother me too actually… the idea that some people are excluded from disaster relief just because they were more responsible is too socialist for me, and I’m not being sarcastic…

            I can appreciate needing to get urgent relief to those who need it most, but when we’re down to handing out checks for lost freezers then it needs to everyone or no one.

            Stories like that only give fuel to fires burning inside responsible people everywhere—after all, why should she have bothered to save anything if it’s just going to be used an excuse to exclude her from being “made whole” using charity / public money? It’s a system that punishes the responsible and rewards the irresponsible.

            • jayphat says:

              She had 50K for an emergency relief fund. She applied for a program to replace food from an emergency and was denied. I don’t feel pity for her in the slightest. That’s why you set the emergency fund in the first place. The system is designed for people who had no ability to save up for such disasters, not everyone who was affected by it.

              • drjayphd says:

                Perhaps she had expenses to cover with the emergency fund that were, say, more than $50K? If she could get the food assistance, she wouldn’t have to spend her fund on that and could worry about more expensive matters.

      • sooperdana says:

        Michigan instituted an asset test late last year. I know you have to provide documentation of your most recent bank statement when you apply, and there are rules that if you own more than 1 car you are ineligible for food stamps. I don’t know that they ask about or check for a second home, though.

    • hmburgers says:

      Yeah, I think the idea of saying once you’ve won the lottery you can’t collect food stamps is ridiculous… the two things need to be disconnected…

      They need to close loop holes in the means test and maybe also consider adding additional triggers for a review of eligibility…

      I’d assume that a simple income verification for her would get her booted for a year based on her 1040 showing the gambling income. The following years she might still have a very low income so reviewing assets may be some loophole that needs to be closed… I think primary residence and retirement accounts (if you’re under 59-1/2) are both no-brainers for exclusion… the rest is somewhat dubious, probably better to just be sure that your income test includes unearned incomes and capital gains… that should exclude your average “rich” person…

    • K-Bo says:

      I think the money should be considered spread out over time based on the local average income. If you win 10X the average income for your state, you can’t get food stamps for 10 years or something similar that takes into account cost of living.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Most states check to see if you own property or have bank accounts. If you have a significant amount of cash on hand, you don’t get food stamps. Same goes for housing expenses: You are only allowed to deduct from income money spent on your primary residence. It’s not hard to do. I’m guessing that either Michigan doesn’t check those things, doesn’t check them often, or doesn’t have such a rule in its rulebook regarding who gets food stamps.

      • Coles_Law says:

        You must be right, otherwise we’d be hearing this from other states with the same problem.

  6. The Porkchop Express says:

    So Puffy and Biggie were right? Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems?

    • DoubleShortMILF says:

      I don’t know what they want from/I say the mo’ money we come across, the mo’ problems we see

  7. fsnuffer says:

    Ok, so she has two homes and bills to pay but she still has enough money to buy lottery tickets?

    • tinyhands says:

      More importantly, before she won she was on food stamps and had money to buy lottery tickets.

  8. PolarDan says:

    Instead of laws banning them from receiving assistance, how about a class in money management and personal finance as a condition of collecting winnings?

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      That’s basically what she needs. She could get a financial advisor and/or an accountant to do darn near everything for her. She still should learn about investing if not taxes. The hardest part would be finding someone she could trust.

      The first thing I would tell her is start growing that money somehow even if it’s an interest bearing savings account. And diversify, do not put the eggs in one basket.

      • MrEvil says:

        Too often lottery winners get suckered in by guys selling investment opportunities, but they happen to just be clever con-men.

  9. kaptainkk says:

    I thought you had to qualify to be on welfare, prove low income, no assets, no bank accounts, etc. $500,000 lump sum isn’t enough for this scum. She needs to get hit by a bus!

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I know people making 12 dollars an hour who were dropped from their food stamp program in less than 6 months. Even with a child they cannot get back on. They are using a private food bank at this point.

  10. Kavatar says:

    Get back to me when hundreds or thousands of people are doing this, not one or two people mentioned in the Daily Mail. Seriously, think about how likely this scenario is.

    • jayphat says:

      This is the third case I’ve heard of in Michigan in the last year. The last one I heard of was a man who won $2 million, was disqualified from the food stamp program for a year, than the year after his tax winnings showed up on his taxes, he went right back onto the program. That’s why they instituted the bank account portion of the means testing.

      • Kate says:

        Do you know how much it costs to put in changes to check for such a thing? Probably several thousand times what it would cost just to pay for the food stamps.

        How many big lottery winners do you think would try to use food stamps? Let’s be realistic, this just isn’t worth it. Perhaps someone might manually check on it occasionally.

  11. missy070203 says:

    sell a freaking house and stop complaining and milking the system…. that’s crazy- it’s not like you were poor and didn’t have a leg to stand on you were just too stupid to manage the million you had- suck it up

  12. Sarek says:

    So why isn’t she in jail?

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      It’s the law that allow this so the legislators are the ones that should be jail.

      It would be more honorable if she would voluntary take herself off the program.

    • Hoss says:

      Jail? She’s totally within the law to do this. Her income did not change according to her state

  13. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    A better way to control welfare against windfall “victims” is to based elgibility on a combination of taxable income and money in savings. If someone takes the annuity payments, that will be reported as income every year. If they take the lump sum, then you’d hope they have cash on hand in checking/savings accounts and money market/401k/IRA. etc. You could set the bar pretty high to avoid unintended consequences.

    This of course doesn’t solve the issue of someone taking the lump sum and just hiding it in their mattress.

  14. hmburgers says:

    I can understand why she wouldn’t get an immediate cut off of benefits… but I would assume that these need-based programs are reviewed on a regular basis, at least once a year?

    Which to me means when she comes up for review her income ought to be many, many times greater than would be required to get this assistance…

    That said, I can imagine her being back on the following year because the programs usually don’t take assets into account, just income and with only $500K net, buying a new car, buying a new home (even in MI) and just in general probably spending like an idiot, she’s not going to be rolling in the unearned income next year…

  15. jrwn says:

    All they need to do is say if you have $XX in assets, you don’t get welfare. problem solved.

    • humphrmi says:

      Most states do. Michigan doesn’t. It’s up to their voters to stop this.

    • Kuri says:

      And who decides how much is too much?

    • humphrmi says:

      Illinois sets the bar very low for assets. Even if your income is $0, you can’t get food stamps unless your assets are ridiculously low, something like $2000 including housing and cars.

      To answer your question, we elect our legislators and they decide. If we don’t like what they decide, we elect someone else.

  16. Hoss says:

    So it’s evil for someone at the bottom to play the system but when Mitt Romney plays the tax system it’s fair play? Got it.

  17. Sean says:

    I know it isn’t much, but make her pay back the food stamps money she has used since collecting on her big win.

    • Hoss says:

      You live in a country that takes assets because they don’t agree with how you handled your affairs? She is not breaking any rules here

  18. olderbudwizer says:

    Sounds like a bunch of easy loopholes still in the system! Instead of whining about those still taking advantage, require winners to take and PASS (deducted from the winnings before payment) a financial management course, which would include of necessity, a complete personal financial analysis by a certified CFP. This would be required BEFORE they get the balance of funds.

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

    This woman won 20 years of my take home pay with the lump sum amount. She should not be receiving food stamps! I mean really – there are people trying to get by on a tiny fraction of what she has. Food stamp assistance should go to them instead.

    She doesn’t “deserve” anything. She could have invested the money, sold the first house, and used that money plus some from her winnings to purchase a modest home in an area where she might find employment.

    Maybe it’s time that state lotteries offer financial counseling to the big ticket winners.

    • ellmar says:

      Financial counseling SHOULD be mandatory for winners — that is an excellent idea.

    • BooCackles says:

      I’m guessing some of her “problems” are in the form of every friend and family coming out of the woodwork to mooch off of her and then getting angry because she has so much and she isn’t giving them enough. Still doesn’t make what she is doing right- she is wasting money that should be used to help people who are genuinely broke.

      • Kuri says:

        that’s part of the reason why me and my family agreed that if we ever won any significant amount, there are certain people we will NOT Tell, and will do what we can to ensure they don’t find out.

        Thankfully one person we know who would have tried to take advantage doesn’t even contact us.

    • jesusofcool says:

      Financial counseling is a brilliant idea! I was just thinking that to me this story is less about the issues with the welfare system and more about the problems with the financial education Americans receive. Students are graduating from high school with zero consumer or financial education and then we wonder why they overspend, mismanage funds, get in over their heads in debt, etc. Some sort of financial education/life skills training should be mandatory in public high school, particularly in lower income areas where students may not be getting that education at home. It’s in the best interest of American society as a whole.

      • BooCackles says:

        Totally agree- and hopefully (in high school) it would include the bit about how winning the lottery is extremely unlikely and if you are broke, you are better off saving that dollar here and there instead of blowing it. I know it doesn’t help after the fact, but it bothers me that she had money for lotto and not for food.

  20. May contain snark says:

    Why wouldn’t she take some of that money and start a business? That would solve her problem of not having a job.

    “Clayton said she will keep using her Bridge card until the state cuts her off and said she deserves it.”

    Oh. Her rediculous sense of entitlement. That’s why.

  21. quirkyrachel says:

    “The 24-year-old added that she is entitled to the welfare handout as she has two homes to run…”

    Yes, I think entitled about describes it properly. The fact that this is legal, and it isn’t even the first time it’s happened, is outrageous.

  22. HowardRoarksTSquare says:

    Glad to see public assistance is working out well for the state of Michigan.

  23. Guppy06 says:

    The means testing is based on monthly income, and she took her winnings in a single lump sum.

    Unless the state does away with the lump sum option or they find a way to force lottery winners to “invest wisely,” there is no cut-and-dry way of stopping stories like this without doing more harm than good.

  24. Hi_Hello says:

    here’s my solution…
    Anyone on food stamp, who wins the lottery for more than 10G, needs to pay back to the food stamp agency. It;s like extra taxes. Any leftover, they can keep.

    People are idiots…eventually she’ll go broke again.. Should idiots starve?? I don’t know…

    • hmburgers says:

      This actually is a great idea.

      If you’re unemployed but win a court case again your former employer for wrongful termination you have to pay back any unemployment assistance you received.

      In the same way I can see a case being made for requiring any public assistance received in say, the last 5 years, to be repaid in the even of winning any prize over a certain amount…

  25. u1itn0w2day says:

    I know people who deal with accountants and they were offered to have their bills, taxes and books taken care of for a thousand dollars a year up front. So even if she lives another 50 years she pays out 50k to keep and probably grow her million dollar winnings let alone make it last.

    But being nervous about her million dollar winnings is not a tax payer problem.

  26. galm666 says:

    Whoa, wait a second. I’m in favor of welfare programs for people who don’t have their feet planted and have unstable income conditions.

    This lady has neither. That lottery win may be reduced after taxes, and then paid in increments, but she also has two houses. I think she needs to take that other house, put it up for rent, take her winnings and store some away then use some to help attract renters to her second house.

    Her second house could be her next job.

    Also, cut her welfare checks off.

  27. tbax929 says:

    Aren’t there states that require winners of big jackpots to pay back benefits they received once they get a windfall, or did I imagine that in my little utopia?

    I know she isn’t breaking state law, but it’s sad that she’s legally collecting benefits that could go to someone who is actually in need. And she seems to have no shame about it. I miss the days when people had shame.

  28. NYGuy1976 says:

    Not sure how Michigan works but in NY there is no means test for other assets to qualify for food stamps unless you have been kicked off the program before. As long as you have no income you qualify. If she took a lump payment for the winnings she still has no income. It’s not right but maybe within the law.

  29. LabanDenter says:

    “might have unintended consequences, because there are so many stories about lottery winners who blow all their winnings and end up penniless and badly in need of a safety net. “

    No. They shouldn’t have a safety net. If you are that stupid, you should suffer.

  30. ancientone567 says:

    My guess is that all the money was put into a “special needs trust” This is what most people do who are on assistance who come into a windfall of cash. The money is not legally theirs anymore and they give it to a trustee. It is sort of like a retirement fund. They cannot get cash and it can only pay certain kinds of bills. The trust is restricted by law from buying things that the government will pay for like food, medical etc. It is all perfectly legal and the states are well aware of the people that have them and still get assistance. These types of people are in bad health generally and they need to set up trusts to take care of themselves for years to come. Setting up the trust was the smarted thing they probably ever did.

    • Crymansqua says:

      “and despite paying cash for a new home and car said, ‘I’m still struggling.'”

      Sounds like she just blew it all.

  31. shepd says:

    Good for her. Enough people doing this will prove WHY the entire idea of government welfare is just flat out stupid.

  32. Remarkable Melba Kramer says:

    The system is FICKED!!

  33. KDO says:

    In my state, you cannot have more than a certain dollar amount in assets to be eligible for food stamps. Seems like a good fix to Michigan’s problem. It’s easy to have plenty of money but no “income”

  34. dicobalt says:

    She has nothing left after paying off $5000 credit card debt which inflated to well over $1,000,000 after compounding compounded interest lol

  35. Sian says:

    You have two houses and you’re on food stamps?

    Seriously there needs to be some level of net assets where you’ll be summarily denied.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I could actually handle somebody living in one Mcmansion. How can a second home be a necessity. Having a second home alone should be a disqualifier. But since apparently the Michigan laws don’t cover or account for assets she wins-again.

      I can see no stipulations on things like unemployment but by the time you need multiple government handouts including food stamps YOUR situation is dire enough you should be selling off assets for money. One home is enough for survival. Foodstamps should be intended for daily survival not maintaining ones assets/lifestyle.

  36. DoubleShortMILF says:

    Well, tough titty. If you blow your lottery winnings, that’s your fault. Maybe lottery winners should be advised to hire a money manager so they won’t need to get back on the government teat.

  37. Hungry Dog says:

    She needs that food stamp money, how else will she spend her money on other things if she had to concern herself with staying fed?

  38. ElleAnn says:

    My nanny-state solution would be to require lottery winners who win $1 million or more to take financial management courses. If you don’t take the classes, you forfeit your lifetime access to foodstamps or other safety net programs.

  39. EllenRose says:

    I have a friend who would be penniless in a year if you handed her a million dollars. So I told her if she wins, take the yearly payments instead of the lump sum — she wouldn’t be able to spend the entire million, she’d have another installment coming next year.

    I suspect we all know people like that.

  40. dush says:

    No, someone who blows through millions are not badly in need of a safety net. The taxpayers owe them nothing.

  41. Crymansqua says:

    “because there are so many stories about lottery winners who blow all their winnings and end up penniless and badly in need of a safety net.”

    Actually, I think they need a lesson in not being stupid and blowing through millions of dollars. Not public assistance.

  42. SoCalGNX says:

    Saw her on TV. she will run thru the lottery money soon and still have excuses why she should collect food stamps. Hope she never has any children.

  43. OMG_BECKY says:

    And here I am disabled because of an FDA-approved drug (Cipro) and I don’t qualify.

  44. Syntania says:

    Actually, there’s a follow-up.
    Apparently the state of Michigan got wind of her winnings and cut off the food stamps.