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article imageWoman wins $1 million in lotto, continues to collect food stamps

By Leigh Goessl     Mar 9, 2012 in Lifestyle
Lincoln Park - A woman made international headlines after word got out she continued to collect her monthly food benefit after winning a $1 million lotto jackpot.
Amanda Clayton, of Lincoln Park, Mich., continued to collect a $200 state benefit for food assistance after winning $1 million in the lottery in Sept.
The winnings came from an appearance on the "Make Me Rich!" game show.
Seemingly, it was only recently discovered Clayton was still collecting the money each month.
"I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn't I thought maybe it was OK because I'm not working," Clayton told WDIV TV (courtesy of CNN). "I feel that it's OK because I have no income, and I have bills to pay. I have two houses."
According to the Detroit News, the 24-year-old mother of two took a lump sum payment of $700,000 and then paid taxes on the winnings, walking away with $500,000. After winning the money, Clayton bought a new house, a car and also reportedly did a lot of shopping.
This situation, and an earlier case in Michigan where a $2 million dollar winner still collected food stamps, has caused state legislators to sit up and take notice. In that case, the man actually called the state and asked; he was told since it was a lump sum payment and not regular income, federal guidelines say it was OK to still collect benefits. But lawmakers say that money is intended for people in need, not people who win big in the lottery.
Two bills addressing this sort of situation are currently pending in the Senate, reported Click on Detroit.
Euline Clayton defended her daughter telling Detroit news that she's not saying collecting the money footed by taxpayers is "the right thing to do," but "it's nobody's business if she's not breaking the law." She noted that until the law is passed, her daughter should be left alone.
Though, not everyone quite sees it that way.
CNN reported Clayton said she had intentions of continuing to collect the benefit and use her state-issued electronic card (Bridge Card) until it is cut off. "It's hard. I am struggling," she said.
However, Detroit News reported Clayton has been cut off from the $200 monthly benefit, said the state's Dept. of Human Services. The agency noted that once she won she was no longer eligible for food stamps.
"DHS relies on clients being forthcoming about their actual financial status," DHS department Director Maura Corrigan said. "If they are not, and continue to accept benefits, they may face criminal investigation and be required to pay back those benefits."
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