Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Lottery winners’ welfare: Jackpot winners in Michigan still receiving welfare?

Lottery winners’ welfare: Jackpot winners in Michigan still receiving welfare?, To some, a major lottery win yields a number of benefits – immediate relief from bills, a shift in lifestyle, the ability to travel or perhaps financial security for one’s family. So why would lottery winners continue to draw state welfare benefits?

That’s the question being asked by an April 17 MSN report. The report, which describes the dual winners and welfare recipients with the appropriately pithy saying “having their cake and eating it too,” says that approximately 3,500 Michigan residents are living the high life, while collecting benefits earmarked for those who are struggling.

Michigan’s Department of Human Services (DHS) made the discovery after enforcing a new law that, for the first time, requires cross-checking lottery winners with those on the rolls for public assistance.

According to the Detroit News, state lawmakers imposed the constraint last year after two high-profile cases of million-dollar lottery winners who continued to receive food stamps after hitting it big.

Although the DHS report showed that 83 percent of the individuals still on public assistance had won sums less than $5,000, 19 folks who fell into jackpots of one hundred grand or more are still getting monthly welfare benefits.

DHS Director Maura Corrigan said Monday her department could only remove 16 percent – or 565 individuals – as recipients of welfare because of what Corrigan termed federal "loopholes" and "glitches" in asset-testing requirements.

Corrigan recommended that her state lawmakers model the system after a New York law which allows the state to offset lottery winnings in order to pay other federal or state obligations.

"To me, that's an area that would be worthy for the Michigan Legislature to pursue," Corrigan told The Detroit News.

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