Lottery winner cut off from benefits

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The Michigan woman who won the lottery but stayed on public food assistance will no longer be dining off the taxpayers’ dime.

Amanda Clayton, the 24-year old Lincoln Park resident who won $1 million in the state lottery but continued to use $200 a month in food stamps, has had her benefits revoked by the Michigan Department of Human Services.

According to Michigan DHS, those receiving food benefits must notify the state of a change in income or assets within 10 days.

“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,” DHS issued in a statement and published by Local 4.

“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,” the statement concluded.

A bill requiring the state to cross-check the names of lottery winners prizes over $1,000 with names of individuals on public assistance, sponsored by state Republican Rep. Dale Zorn, has passed the state House. There is a companion bill in the state Senate.

Clayton’s food stamp chicanery was first reported by Local 4, who filmed Clayton using food stamps and approached her about it.

“I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn’t, I thought maybe it was okay because I’m not working,” she said to justify her behavior.

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Caroline May