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article imageOp-Ed: Amanda Clayton should be charged & found guilty of welfare fraud

By Nicole Byerly     Mar 10, 2012 in Lifestyle
Upon reading the article about the 24-year-old woman, Amanda Clayton who struck it rich by winning $1 million from the Michigan state lottery and how she continued to receive food stamp benefits, several questions came to my mind.
To see where I am coming from, we must first look back at the state laws of Michigan regarding food stamp recipients. After reading the 2009 BRIDGE requirement brochure, I took quick note that “LUMP SUM PAYMENTS” are to be counted and reported as income. Because this dates back to 2009, and Ms. Clayton received her big winnings in 2011, this law was already in affect at the time of her winning.
Secondly, it must be reviewed that $200 is the maximum a single person can receive as a food stamp recipient in the state of Michigan. With that being said, we can assume that Ms. Clayton received benefits only for herself. After viewing the video we can quickly take note of her claims to why she is entitled to Food Stamp benefits. Ms. Clayton states “I have no income.” So this brings up my next, and very important, question: Where did Ms. Clayton get the money to spend on the lottery ticket that resulted in her winning $1 million?
If she has no income, and receives assistance from Welfare in the state of Michigan as a single, unemployed person, it could be safe to assume that she was also receiving cash benefits in addition to her food stamp allotment. Could one also assume that Ms. Clayton illegally purchased the lottery ticket out of state funds that are awarded for other reasons, but not to be used for “the purchase of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or spent on gambling?”
This story is a prime example of welfare fraud. Although the state representatives said there were no laws pertaining to lottery winnings, laws that were previously established do consider lump sum payments as an asset that is included in determining benefits. The state also passed a law on Oct. 1, 2011 that requires checking and savings account balances to be reported as they are also a determining factor for benefits
.
States generally require a review every six months to ensure that people are still eligible for benefits- so how exactly did she go seven months, after winning $1 million, and still receive benefits from the state?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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