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Hundreds of Michigan lottery winners lose their welfare benefits

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The state kicked more than 500 people off food assistance and other welfare programs over the past 12 months because they won the Lottery.

But, a member of Governor Rick Snyder’s cabinet wants thousands more people be kicked off public assistance because of their Lottery winnings.

A new report says 14% of Lottery winners in Michigan live in a household where someone is on public assistance. There’s a law that requires the state to check the name of everyone who wins more than a thousand dollars against the rolls for many programs.

“You’re moving benefits to people who have no need of them, and we ought to reserve assets for those who are truly needy,” says Maura Corrigan, the director the state Department of Human Services.

Corrigan says there were a couple dozen people who continued to qualify for benefits after winning more than 100 thousand dollars. That’s because they were enrolled in programs covered by federal rules – and only Congress can change those rules. She also wants the Legislature to pass a law that would allow the state to recover some payments from people who win the Lottery after they’re off public assistance.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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