More than 3,500 lottery winners are still on welfare, according to new reports out this week, sparking calls for officials to clamp down on loopholes.
The Michigan Department of Human Services, as well as lawmakers are now being put under pressure to get rid of a loophole that allows most to keep winnings
Already it appears as though a Michigan agency has removed more than 500 lottery winners from various welfare programs after a new state law allowed winners to be cross-referenced with a list of welfare receivers.
However, the Department of Human Services has also said that many more welfare cases could be terminated if other loopholes are closed, or if new laws allow bring greater transparency.
On Monday the Department of Human Services issued a report on its findings from April 2012 through December 2012.
The report was commenced following a new law that was signed into effect last April, which requires Michigan state to cross-reference a list of those who win $1,000 or more in the lottery with those currently receiving DHS assistance.
Since that law was introduced, various programs, such as food assistance, cash assistance, and also some types of Medicaid programs, have implemented asset limits.
However, some are highlighting that many other welfare programs have not implemented any kind of asset testing, including some child development and care programs, as well as numerous other Medicaid programs. The Department of Human Services estimates that there are still more 2,000 cases involving lottery winners that have been left "open" because their welfare programs are not asset tested.
"It's inconceivable that this is what the legislature had in mind when passing those laws in 2012," Maura Corrigan, Michigan's DHS director, said in a statement. "With the match system, we can now identify substantial winnings, but the loopholes that allow lottery winners to continue to collect various benefits need to be closed, through amending state and federal law and policy."
The statistics claim that just over 10 percent of all lottery winners are either welfare recipients themselves, or live in a household where someone receives welfare help.
The report claimed that 3,544 lottery winners between April 2012 and December 2012 were identified as on welfare themselves or lived in a household where someone received welfare assistance. Those cases, the report revealed, accounted for in excess of $24 million in lottery winnings, which is an average of $6,800 per case.
The DHS said Monday in a statement that it "will advocate remedies" to make sure benefits from taxpayer-supported programs go to people who are "truly in need."
The statement said, "DHS will seek changes in federal laws and policy where persons who 'purchase and prepare food separately' are considered distinct groups even though they reside in the same home, thus allowing a lottery winner to have an individual case isolated from other household members."
Here is a video news report from 2012 about lottery winners remaining on welfare: