Mom Who Won Lottery & Continued to Collect Food Stamps Doesn't Deserve Our Scorn

Mom Moment 114

cashA mother of two in Detroit who won $1 million in the state lottery last September may be the most hated woman on the Internet this morning. That's because despite her big win -- after taxes she took home about $500,000 -- until very recently, she's still been receiving $200 a month in food stamps to feed her and her children. The mom bought a new home and car with her winnings and says she's still "struggling," which is why she continued to receive state assistance:

"I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn't I thought maybe it was OK because I'm not working ... I feel that it's OK because I have no income, and I have bills to pay. I have two houses."

For the many, many people who also are struggling but haven't won the lottery, that's a really difficult statement to swallow. But this woman doesn't need our judgement and hate. What she really needs is: help.

It was dishonest (and likely illegal) for this woman to continue to receive benefits after her financial situation improved. But her story is much more layered than a simple question of right and wrong.

For people who are good at managing their money, it's easy to see what this woman should have done with her winnings: get off assistance, pay off any debts, get a job to pay her bills. But it isn't so obvious for people like this mom who don't have that skill. Unfortunately, this story highlights one of the sobering truths about many people on welfare: It's not that they don't have any money, it's that they don't know how to manage it.

There's another question that should be running through your mind right about now: How was the mom even allowed to do this in the first place? Well, the Department of Human Services relies on clients being forthcoming about their actual financial status. In this case, the woman was not forthcoming because she believed she was still "struggling" and wanted to make sure her kids had enough to eat. We can criticize her all we want for not making the "moral" choice, but there are a lot of people in the world who would take free money if it was offered to them. The state's system is to blame, too.

I think everyone would agree that this woman absolutely needs to pay the money back. But maybe our judgement could stop there. It's tempting to be angry that someone would be so frivolous and irresponsible; a more compassionate reaction is to be angry that so many people don't have the skills they need to be off assistance and successful.

What do you think should happen to this mom?


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dirti... dirtiekittie

this is absolutely infuriating, but i shouldn't JUDGE her?! hahahaha c'mon, that's the first thing we do here on the stir. ;)

bottom line: you only need ONE house. sell the other. get in touch with someone to help with your investments. you don't need an investment banker - most local credit unions will help you; just schedule an appointment to see them. pay back the money you received in welfare AFTER you received your winnings, and put enough money for 3 months' expenses in the bank account. after that, everything goes to savings / investments.

ignorance is no excuse. she has the money, she can find out how to handle it best. if she does not, she's destined to repeat her mistakes, and it would be a shame for the working public's taxes to assist her when she can't even help herself.

Jennifer McLeod

I think she's a liar. She's lieing because she dosn't want to be introuble and she knew it was wrong. she won the lottery, has two houses for some reason, she knew she didn't need food stamps anymore.

Prett... PrettyGirlMyers

This mother should be forced to pay back every single cent that she was given in assistance and should be prosecuted for fraud. I am bad at managing my money, should I be asking my state for assistance? This woman is disgusting and I have no doubt that she KNEW that she shouldn't have been getting this money. She belongs in jail.

texas... texasmamma777

"What do you think should happen to this mom?"

She should attend a class that teaches her that voting for obama again would be a serious mistake for her, her children, and America.  

She must answer this question: "Which U.S. President pushes an agenda that rewards those on welfare and seeks to keep them in a vicious cycle of life-long dependency on government?" 

If she answers "obama", she gets a gold star.

femal... femaleMIKE

She needs to pay back the money.

She needs to learn how to manage her money. 

mande... manderspanders

And this is the entitlement mentality run amok.

She was wrong and deserves whatever judgment she gets from those footing the bill-the taxpayers.

If you don't want to be "judged" don't do dumb crap like this.

hotrd... hotrdumommy

You do know she's not the first right? About a year ago a man won over a million in the lotto and still collected benefits. He reported it but was told that he was still eligible because lotto winnings did not count as income. It's jacked up but until it changes it is what it is. I feel bad for the people who actually need it and are mistreated because of people like them.

nonmember avatar Rob M.

No one is surprised. This perfectly exemplifies the Entitement Mentality and of course she's only stealing from those in need.

Not like I care, but if I was trying to get benefits I would be livid. Conservatives will love this "welfare queen" because she's a real person and not a Reagon era fake.

.... Below is from the web ..,,

The term "welfare queen" is most often associated with Ronald Reagan who brought the idea to a national audience. During his 1976 presidential campaign, Reagan would tell the story of a woman from Chicago's South Side who was arrested for welfare fraud:

"She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting veteran's benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She's got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000."[4]

AliNo... AliNoelle

Ok, I find it really hard to believe that she was still "struggling" with 2 houses. Did she need 2? Why not sell one and live in the other? Or rent one of them out? That would have been income right there? I'm sorry but if I had won that kind of money I would have paid off all my bills and tried to get ahead on some, bought a house and made the rest of that money go to work for me. Anyone who wins that money should definitely go get some financial advising as to what would be the best way to make the money work for them be it in stocks, cd's, or whatever. There is no excuse to still be using state assistance when you don't really need it.

Loref... Lorefield

Don't judge??? This woman knew she had to report the money, it is in their contract that all changes in income and assets have to be reported within 10 days. She didn't think they would just automatically cut her off, they have no way of knowing she won the lottery. How can you blame the system? 

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