Can Lottery Winners Get State Assistance?

A firestorm of information has been in the news today after Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow made a statement about reports on a lottery winner still receiving assistance from the state. (see story below titled, “Stabenow: Lottery Winner Getting State Aid”.)

The following is a statement from Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura Corrigan on recent media reports of a person, now no longer receiving benefits, who remained on food assistance after winning a lottery.

“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.

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