LANSING, Mich. — After twice finding out lottery winners continued to use food stamps after collecting the jackpot, Michigan lawmakers on Thursday gave final approval to legislation aimed at making sure it doesn’t happen again.
Bills headed to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature would require lottery officials to notify the state’s Department of Human Services about winners of $1,000 or more. The legislation also would put into law a requirement for asset tests to help determine eligibility for some public assistance programs in the state, and lottery winnings would factor into those tests.
The asset tests provision drew the most opposition from lawmakers Thursday, although some asset tests already are used in Michigan through state department policy.
Michigan lawmakers began the effort last year after learning that a Bay County man was using the food stamp program despite winning an $850,000 lump sum prize in 2010. He told state officials about his wealth but was allowed to temporarily keep his card because lump-sum windfalls at that time were not counted as regular income under the program.
This year, it was revealed that a Lincoln Park woman who last fall had won a $700,000 lump sum before taxes was using a debit-style card to make purchases under the food-stamp program. She also is no longer receiving the assistance.
Sen. John Moolenaar, a Republican from Midland, said it was “incredible” that lottery winners had been able to continue using food stamps after they hit the jackpot.
“This solution will help ensure that such an outrage never happens again,” Moolenaar said in a statement.