While a bill to bar lottery winners from collecting governmental food assistance has been pushed and discussed in the Michigan Legislature, Amanda Clayton, who won $1 million last fall, reportedly still collects $200 a month with her welfare card. According to Yahoo news, the 24 year-old from Lincoln Park, Michigan said she will continue to collect her benefits until she is officially cut-off, despite her mega win.
Clayton was confronted this week by WDIV, a Detroit television station, and admitted that she was still struggling with her finances. According to reports by The Detroit News, Euline Clayton, Amanda's mother said that after her daughter took her winnings home in a lump sum and had to pay taxes, she was only left her with half her winnings, about $500,000, with which she purchased a car and a second home.
In the interview, Amanda defended her decision by asserting that she was still struggling.
I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn't I thought maybe it was OK because I'm not working, she said to WDIV. I feel that it's OK because I have no income, and I have bills to pay. I have two houses.
Michigan State's Republican Representative, Dale Zorn, who sponsored the bill that would require states to check if lottery winners are collecting unemployment benefits and stop them from collecting more, has criticized Clayton's behavior.
Public assistance should be given to those who are in need of public assistance, not those who have found riches, Zorn told The Detroit News.
U.S Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich) has also voiced her discontent.
At a time when so many out-of-work Michigan families are in real need of assistance, it's outrageous for people to cheat and defraud the system like this, Stabenow said on Wednesday. Action must be taken to ensure states permanently stop lottery winners and others from wrongfully taking support meant for families that are truly struggling to put food on the table.