Lottery winners on welfare stir outrage in Michigan
Though the state has enacted a law aimed at preventing it, 3,500 people were found collecting benefits.
Several well-publicized cases of miscreant lottery winners have galvanized state officials. For instance, Amanda Clayton of the Detroit area was caught last year collecting welfare after winning a $735,000 jackpot. She later died of a drug overdose.
So legislators enacted a law in 2012 requiring that the state match a list of people who have won $1,000 or more from the lottery with another one showing people who receive public assistance.
According to The Associated Press, about 14% of Michigan lottery winners either receive welfare or live in a household with people who collect benefits. State officials point out that the winners took home an average of $6,800. That's helpful, but it isn't a life-changing event, the wire service noted.
Michigan officials have tried to means-test welfare benefits, but some benefits aren't covered by the tests and only 565 cases were closed as the result of the 2012 law.
North Carolina officials are going down the same path as Michigan's. Legislators there have drafted a law that would forbid people on welfare or in bankruptcy from buying lottery tickets, according to the Huffington Post. How such a far-reaching law would be enforced isn't clear.
Efforts to crack down on welfare recipients who win lottery prizes are ironic, given that lotteries are often criticized as being a "tax on the poor" because they're heavily marketed to that group. In fact, a 2008 study found that people who earn less than $13,000 spend a staggering 9% of their earnings on lottery tickets.
Occasionally, as in the case of Dominican immigrant Pedro Quezada, people strike it rich. Quezada recently won a $338 million PowerBall jackpot and has agreed to pay the rent and mortgage payments of his neighbors.
But not all lottery stories have a happy ending. Earlier this year, an Illinois man died from cyanide poisoning a day after winning a $1 million jackpot. And Dorice "Dee Dee" Moore was convicted last year of murdering Florida lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare.
Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.
It's time to track Welfare and food stamps by Social Security numbers to stop interstate welfare fraud and report benefits to the IRS.
if you buy a lottery ticket your funding should be cut, as well as cigarettes or alcohol. I am tired of funding lazy people who waste money, obviously they have too much if they can afford to spend it on anything other than food, or shelter or basic needs.
Amanda Clayton of the Detroit area was caught last year collecting welfare after winning a $735,00 jackpot. "She later ." That says it all.
Gives case to wonder if welfare wasn't her vehicle to drugs in the first place. So many are against drug testing for welfare recipients, BUT let's see how many of those against it are tax payers.
How's this any different from all the welfare we already give the rich. lol.
I'm willing to bet the oil companies not paying any taxes and getting billions in refunds cost about as much in one year as this does in 500.. Yet we'll be all indignant about this vile practice, and ignore the one that's much, much worse.
Personally I think we need to stop both. But I'm tired of hearing about social welfare bilking and hearing exactly zero about corporate welfare bilking-- even though that cost taxpayers staggering amount of money above and beyond. They should be one in the same, and talked about at the same time.
I think the most annoying trend is when people are so against this kind of thing, yet are perfectly fine with corporate welfare.
Maybe some large fines all around? The more bilked the larger the fine?
Hey, taking a shot at winning the lottery is fun! But, if you win, you are off the programs. Even winning $6 grand will mean you are off the programs for a couple of months.
Welfare is a safety net. It needs to be there when people fall into bad times. Welfare shouldn't be a hammock for rest and relaxation. After 2-3 months, you get out of bed every morning and report to a local community center. You punch in promptly at 8:00 a.m. The Government entities (counties, cities, schools, libraries, highway departments, parks, etc.) who need workers can show up and select who they need to do whatever jobs are waiting that day. If you have kids, bring them. Some of the people will be assigned to watch them (like day care). Others will be learning all about cooking to feed everyone. If there isn't work to do, then sit right there and brush up on your math and language skills. Learn about money management. There are lots of things you can learn. Then you punch out at 5:00 p.m. and go home. If you don't show up, no welfare money.
If an employer wants to hire you at minimum wage, welfare kicks in a buck or two more until you get a raise (max time limit of a year).
Lets end the "give me for doing nothing" syndrome. Build work ethic. Stop people from collecting in multiple states. The timeclock governs all.
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