While most people have played the “if I had a million dollars I would ____ ” thought game, few fill that blank in with “stay on public assistance.”
Amanda Clayton, a 24-year-old from Lincoln Park, Mich., is one of the few who does, and she is getting away with it. Clayton won $1 million from the Michigan State Lottery this fall, but she is still collecting and using $200 a month in food assistance from the taxpayers with her Michigan Bridge Card.
“I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn’t, I thought maybe it was okay because I’m not working,” the lottery winner who just purchased a new house and car told Local 4 in Detroit. The station even filmed her shamelessly purchasing goods.
When Local 4 asked if she felt she had a right to the money, Clayton responded, “I mean I kinda do.”
Clayton justified the sentiment by explaining that after taking her winnings in a lump sum and having to pay taxes, the total amount was just over half of the initial winnings.
“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.”
Watch Local 4 confront Clayton:
A bill to prevent this type of behavior, sponsored by state Republican Rep. Dale Zorn has passed the state House, as has a companion bill in the state Senate.
“Public assistance should be given to those who are in need of public assistance, not those who have found riches,” said Zorn, who has sponsored a bill requiring the state to cross-check the names of lottery winners of prizes over $1,000 with names of individuals on the dole.
Until Clayton is cut off, however, she says she intends to continue to use her benefits.