Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Lottery winners welfare: Michigan lottery winners still receiving welfare checks

Lottery winners welfare: Michigan lottery winners still receiving welfare checks, When someone wins the lottery, it is often thought that some, if not all, of their money troubles have been handled and taken care of. That doesn't seem to be the case according to a report from the CSMonitor on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, stating that more than 3,500 lottery winners in Michigan received public assistance such as welfare, food stamps, and other aid within the last year.

There was a 2012 state law that required Michigan to match a list of lottery winners with recipients of public assistance. That list is for lottery winners of $1,000 or more.

The bill was signed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder after legislators learned of two cases in which lottery winners of $700,000 and $850,000 respectively were still using food stamps. That's a lot of money to have in possession and still qualify for food stamps.

"With the match system, we can now identify substantial winnings, but the loopholes that allow lottery winners to continue to collect various benefits need to be closed, through amending state and federal law and policy," DHS Director Maura Corrigan said in a statement.

Here is where the problem lies though. More than 2,000 lottery winners are continuing to receive public aid such as welfare because certain benefits aren't covered by the state tests or even other issues. This is even with the law including a requirement for asset-based testing to help determine eligibility for public assistance.

The new law signed by Snyder closed a mere 565 cases. A report even states that a man who won $33,000 in the lottery still receives $1,000 per month in child care assistance due to the fact that he has three children.

Another man won $125,000 in the lottery but his children keep getting $400 a month in food stamps. This is because his children still live with him, and the family states they buy and prepare their food separately.

In a staggering figure, about 14 percent of lottery winners receive welfare or live in a home with someone that does receive it. Questions have come about due to the 3,544 lottery winners taking home an average of $6,800.

"We agree that big lottery winners should not be getting benefits designed to help people meet basic needs," said Judy Putnam, spokeswoman for the Michigan League for Public Policy. "But having said that, the cases that seem to be driving this — they're extremely unusual and rare. How much have we been spending to get to a few bad apples?"

There are still changes that can be made in the state and federal system, but the problem remains that those with money, such as lottery winners, are still receiving public aid such as welfare and food stamps. Where does this leave those that truly need the state aid?

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