Opinion USA

Michigan Lottery Winner on Food Stamps

A Michigan Lottery $2 million jackpot winner from last year is still collecting some food stamps. This is under a loophole the state has been working for months to fix. Leroy Fick won the lottery and took a lump sum payment for his June 2010 prize. He bought a house, 2008 Audi and is investing the rest. Since he is investing the remaining money, that leaves Fick eligible for food stamps for making less that $5,000 a year. “There is no asset based testing for it, it is all based on income. The amount that he has invested of this winnings spins off an amount of income and that income is such that he is eligible,” said attorney John Wilson.

Michigan has been working on the ways to close the loophole. Gisgie Davila Gendreau said, “We are actively seeking a change to the food assistance policy, which is a federal policy, to ensure that those who are truly needy qualify.” Michigan state Senator John Moolenaar said Michigan should require lottery officials to share winners names with government departments and remove them from any public assistance programs. “Taxpayer dollars should be used to help the truly needy, and we must stop situations like this from falling through the cracks,” he said.

Fick stated that the fact he still receives food stamps was justified. He says it is because the government took more than half of his winnings in taxes so he will make up for that loss with the food assistance. “If you’re going to try to make me feel bad, you aren’t going to do it. It ain’t going to happen,” he said.


Angelica Bee

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