Lottery winner who still collects food stamps-Is this wrong?
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- A Michigan man who won $2 million in a state lottery game continues to collect food stamps 11 months after striking it rich.
And there's nothing the state can do about it, at least for now.
Leroy Fick, 59, of Auburn won $2 million in the state lottery TV show "Make Me Rich!" last June. But the state's Department of Human Services determined he was still eligible for food stamps, Fick's attorney, John Wilson of Midland, said Tuesday.
Eligibility for food stamps is based on gross income and follows federal guidelines; lottery winnings are considered liquid assets and don't count as income. As long as Fick's gross income stays below the eligibility requirement for food stamps, he can receive them, even if he has a million dollars in the bank.
Food stamps are paid for through tax dollars and are meant to help support low-income families.
"If you're going to try to make me feel bad, you're not going to do it," Fick told WNEM-TV in Saginaw on Monday.
Wilson said Fick told the DHS officials he'd won $2 million but was told he could keep using the Bridge Card issued to him to buy groceries.
Al Kimichik, director of the office of inspector general for DHS, said the department could not comment on individual cases but that it this week began the process of requesting a waiver from the federal government to close the lottery loophole. If it is granted, assets would be counted in determining food stamp eligibility.
Though the food stamp program is federal and states must follow U.S. guidelines, states sometimes request waivers of rules. Michigan was granted a waiver recently to stop college students from qualifying for food stamps.
"For Leroy Fick to continue to use a Bridge Card, paid for by the taxpayers, after winning the lottery, is obscene," said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. "What a waste of taxpayer money."
Jones contacted DHS officials Monday about Fick's case, and was told the department's hands were tied by federal regulations.
"There is no liquid asset requirement for getting food stamps," Jones said. "The department is asking the federal government for an immediate change (in policy). They're hoping this case will help the federal government act."
Until then, Fick can collect food stamps and keep his lottery winnings in the bank.
"I am not going to sit and debate the ethics of this," Wilson said. "But from his standpoint, he did what he was supposed to do -- he informed the state, and the state said he could keep using the card. The problem is with the state."
Hmmm...are we to blame the faulty system or the greedy man who is legally taking advantage of it
- The way it stands right now, it's a system flaw. BROKE. Blue, your a 110% correct, Unless this dude, has taken the money and stuffed it in his mattress, he's drawing interest on it in the bank. Problem being, that won't catch up to him untill tax time, when he'll have to pay it back. It appears the feds are on it, trying to pass a law.
Heres another can of gas to throw into the fire, 2 mill jackpot. If he took a lump sum, he'd probbably cash out at $800,000.00, or somewhere close. He could buy himself a decent place to live, $200.000.00. Throw the rest in an over seas act., then live on the interest, and still collect his milk money, and food stamps. Again broken system.
- Johnny Karp wrote:
Lottery winnings don't count as income? That's probably the funniest thing I've heard today!
well, not all of us have lotteries and gambling wins taxed
- man this is the same greed and moral degradation i see often in this area locally , you see someone you know is getting state aid at a store using a card for example getting in their Lexus and using their top of the line cell phone, knowing also they have the most excellent cable television service at home as well.. these certain inabilities for oversight in these state programs are right down to the grass root individual's corruption which put together makes a quite deal of problem overall
- well, speaking of greed....sure, there's alot of abuse of the state aid, but if celebs, athletes, entrepreneurs and high-end career individuals didnt demand ridiculously high salries and the wealth was spread around so theres wasnt such a spread of haves and have nots maybe the public aid sector wouldnt be so huge; the price for wanting a capitalist society v a socialist one
- Yes, it is wrong, but so is the top five oil companies receiving 20 billion in yearly subsidies from the United States government. Hairline difference--now some in the American congress will use this food stamp incident as a platform to end the food stamp program so it can be used as a tax break for rich people.
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