(LANSING, Mich.) -- Amanda Clayton, who admitted to receiving public food assistance after winning $1 million in the state lotto, has been cut off from state aid, the Michigan Department of Human Services said.
The statement followed a report this week in which Clayton, 24, of Lincoln Park, acknowledged to WDIV-TV that she was continuing to get $200 in monthly food aid, given by the state through a "Bridge Card," after her win in September.
Clayton did not return a request for comment. Her mother, Euline Clayton, previously told the Detroit News that her daughter was not breaking the law.
"I'm not saying it's the right thing to do," Euline Clayton said. "But it's nobody's business if she's not breaking the law."
Department of Human Services' director, Maura Corrigan, issued a statement on Wednesday regarding "a person (now no longer receiving benefits) who remained on food assistance after winning a lottery jackpot."
"Under DHS policy, a recipient of food assistance benefits must notify the state within 10 days of any asset or income change," the statement read. "DHS relies on clients being forthcoming about their actual financial status. If they are not, and continue to accept benefits, they may face criminal investigation and be required to pay back those benefits."
Clayton is not the only lottery winner in Michigan who admitted to receiving food aid from the state. LeRoy Fick, who won almost $2 million in the state's Make Me Rich! lottery in June 2010, admitted to using a Bridge Card in May 2011. Flick received a lump sum of $998,570 from his winnings. He pled guilty to unrelated criminal charges last week including multiple counts of illegal possession of fireworks and operating a motor vehicle on a restricted license.
Fick's admission to receiving public assistance sparked local Republican legislator Rep. Dale Zorn to create bills prohibiting lottery and gambling winners from receiving public aid such as food help and home heating assistance.
Michigan DHS does not currently have the ability to verify a person's lottery winnings in determining benefit eligibility, but Zorn's bills, which were passed by the state's House two weeks ago, would require the Michigan Lottery to notify DHS of winners receiving over $1,000 and require checking their assets.
He said the Senate is expected to pass the bills and the governor is likely to sign them into law. Zorn said his constituents have shown an outpouring of support for the law, and the state's Department of Human Services and Michigan Lottery have said they will support the legislation.
Andi Brancato, the Michigan Lottery's public relations director, said the state lottery officials "have no objection" to the proposed law, "but we need the legislative authority to provide that information to the Department of Human Services."
Asked for a comment regarding lottery winners receiving public assistance, Brancato said, "whether somebody is or isn't is not the role of the lottery."
"We pay the winner their prize and we don't have any authority to do anything beyond that," she said. "If the legislation is enacted we will certainly comply with the legislation which will presumably prevent situations like this from occurring in the future."
She said once the authority is created by the statute, there would need to be a mechanism to allow the reporting across organizations.
"That is not specifically addressed in the legislation and would have to be determined," she said.
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