Michigan lottery winner loses state food assistance

Woman wins lottery, doesn't stop accepting state aid

DETROIT - Amanda Clayton, 24, played the Michigan lottery and hit the jackpot.

She received the $1 million prize, which she said was much less after taxes, and bought a house and a new car.

However, the money apparently wasn't enough for her to stop spending the $200 she received every month from the state in food assistance.

"Well, I thought they would cut me off but since they didn't I thought maybe it's OK because I am not working," Clayton said.

It wasn't OK.

Clayton said she would continue to use her Bridge card because she was "struggling."

Now, the lottery winner's days of living off of taxpayer dollars are over. Since the story aired on Local 4, the Michigan Department of Human Services released this statement:

"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."

There are two bills pending in the Michigan legislature that would require the state lottery to notify DHS of lottery winners. Those efforts now could pick up steam thanks to Clayton.

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