By now you’ve heard the story about the $2M lottery winner that is still collecting food stamps. It turns out he’s not gaming the system. In fact it appears Federal guidelines don’t take assets into account when calculating who can receive food stamps.
Leroy Fick, 59, of Auburn won $2 million in the state lottery TV show “Make Me Rich!” last June. But the state’s Department of Human Services determined he was still eligible for food stamps, Fick’s attorney, John Wilson of Midland, said Tuesday.
Eligibility for food stamps is based on gross income and follows federal guidelines; lottery winnings are considered liquid assets and don’t count as income. As long as Fick’s gross income stays below the eligibility requirement for food stamps, he can receive them, even if he has a million dollars in the bank.
Food stamps are paid for through tax dollars and are meant to help support low-income families.
“If you’re going to try to make me feel bad, you’re not going to do it,” Fick told WNEM-TV in Saginaw on Monday.
Wilson said Fick told the DHS officials he’d won $2 million but was told he could keep using the Bridge Card issued to him to buy groceries.
Anybody else remember the progressive uproar when Charlie Baker suggested means testing for public benefit recipients? Seems he was on to something. For those that don’t remember here was his idea:
8. Conduct forensic financial analysis for benefits eligibility – Between $10M to $20M in savings
State agencies need to consider more than just tax returns when determining individuals’ eligibility for public benefits and services. A lifestyle analysis quantifies the living expenses of individuals – such as credit card bills, recreation activities, auto loans, grocery bills – and compares the expenses to known sources of income. If the money spent during the period analyzed exceeds the known funding sources, it is quite possible that there is another source of income. The state should conduct this analysis on a pilot basis for a few services – such as public defendants and public housing – before individuals are deemed eligible for the benefits.
Seems like such an analysis would have stopped this guy from getting benefits.