“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, 24, told WDIV when it asked whether it was appropriate for her to receive the money.
A state lawmaker is trying to stop such assistance, which is not illegal. He says the food assistance should not go to those who have found riches through the lottery.
“We need to continue to protect our taxpayers’ dollars … and taxpayer dollars should be going to those who really do need assistance,” Michigan Rep. Dale Zorn of Ida Township told HLN’s Vinnie Politan on Wednesday.
In October, Clayton walked away with $1 million in the “Make Me Rich!” lottery game show. She also bought a car, WDIV reported.
After taking a lump sum and paying taxes, the unemployed woman said she ended up with just more than $500,000.
Asked if she had the right to the public assistance money, Clayton answered, “I kind of do. I have no income, and I have bills to pay. I have two houses.”
Zorn said the state House has passed bills on the matter. One would require a state agency to conduct an assets test if a citizen wins more than $1,000 in lottery earnings. “That will trigger whether or not the people are eligible to receive public assistance.” [source]
There is a lot of shaming of this woman for buying a house and a new car. When we think of the lottery, we think of it as a passport to a new life, while actual winners have found that this windfall, tends to bring many problems than it solves. There is a reason why a significant percentage of winners end up in a worse financial position, within five years of winning the lottery.
I highly suspect that Clayton bought a house and a home because these are socially seen as markers as success. When it comes to property, now that housing prices are low, an investment, if one can afford it, is not a bad financial choice to make. The problem as Clayton has discovered is that she is now house broke. She made it clear that she now owns two hopes, and so perhaps the second home was intended to be used as a rental property.
In her response as to whether or not she is entitled to food stamps, what I see is a case of entitlement. Yes, she has bills to pay, but so does everyone else. She is not the special snowflake that she sees herself as. What I found most interesting about this story, was the lack of welfare queen drama that would most certainly have been aimed at a WOC. Some commenters on the CNN story did however manage to engage is some hateful rhetoric, though Clayton is a White American woman.