A young Michigan woman who recently won $1 million in the state lottery is causing national outrage today as she refuses to stop using her electronic food-stamp card.
Amanda Clayton, 24, of Detroit was interviewed by WDIV-TV after the NBC affiliate was tipped off by an upset taxpayer that the jackpot winner was still receiving taxpayer assistance for food.
“People are about to lose their unemployment and these welfare recipients are spending our tax dollars foolishly,” the viewer wrote the station. “Please do a story on lottery winners on welfare.”
The station tracked Clayton down as she was moving to a new house which she had just purchased in cash with her winnings.
When confronted, the woman said she didn’t think she was doing anything wrong.
“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 said.
She told the station that she actually didn’t receive the full million dollars, since she accepted a one-time lump sum of $700,000, and after paying taxes, her winnings were just over half a million.
Nevertheless, Clayton believes she still has a right to receive $200 a month from taxpayers.
“I feel that it’s OK because, I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay,” she said. “I have two houses.”
“It’s just hard, you know. I’m struggling,” she added.
WDIV contacted state Rep. Dale Zorn, R-Ida Township, who is pushing a bill designed to stop lottery winners from using public money for food assistance.
“Public assistance should be given to those in need of public assistance, not those that have found riches,” Zorn said. “We need to have the lottery commission notify the state so that state can cross check those who are on assistance.”
That bill has already passed the Michigan House, and is pending in the Senate.
Meanwhile, the case is sparking outrage across the nation.
Jenn Sanders complains, “I actually live about 30 miles from where she does and saw this story on the news. Go figure, I have MS (multiple sclerosis) and two kids, can’t walk or drive and can’t get any kind of help because my husband ‘makes too much.'”
Rose Dominguez of California said: “You know why I’m angry, ’cause there is 6 in my family and ever since I became unemployed, my husband was the only one bringing in income, and so began our problems living check to check. So I go apply for food stamps and I only get $136 for a family of 6 because of what he earned and what I have saved for when things do get really bad, and it’s not a lot: $2,000. Sometimes my husband doesn’t even work a full 40 hours. This lady must be thrown in jail, she is ruining it for people who really need it but they get the wrong label because of people like this lady. Oh and I live in California where everything is more expensive especially food and gas. A gallon of milk is $4 and a gallon of gas is $4.25. Thank the Lord for public transportation.”