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Lottery winners on welfare: Michigan officials want more welfare regulation for lottery winners

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   April 17, 2013 at 10:28 AM   |   Comments

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April 17 (UPI) -- After Michigan's Department of Human Services released a report saying 3,544 state lottery winners received public assistance or lived with someone who did, some lawmakers called for more stringent welfare regulation, the Detroit News reported Tuesday.

DHS conducted the report in response to a new law requiring the agency to cross-reference names of people who won more than $1,000 in the lottery with those on the dole.

"This report by the DHS shows that too many of our state and federal assistance programs lack the correct amount of oversight to prevent fraud and abuse," Republican state Rep. Kenneth Kurtz said in a statement to MLive.com.

“State and federal assistance programs were made to help individuals in tough times get back on their feet and become self-sufficient again. Legislation passed last year was an important first step, but more must be done as DHS has said," Kurtz added.

Though DHS found 19 people with lottery winners of more than $100,000, 83 percent of lottery winners on welfare rolls won less than $5,000. Democratic state Rep. Fashida Tlaib accused the agency of being too harsh on people with small lottery winnings.

"I just think Director [Maura] Corrigan is more passionate about kicking people off the system than preventing fraud," Tlaib told the Detroit News.

Corrigan advocated for a law to "intercept" lottery winnings from those on welfare.

A similar proposal has been controversial in North Carolina, where Republican state Rep. Paul Stam called the lottery a "scam."

In January, he advocated for legislation prohibiting welfare recipients from playing the lottery at all.

"We're giving them welfare to help them live, and yet by selling them a ticket, we're taking away their money that is there to provide them the barest of necessities," Stam said.

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