Win the Lottery? Why Not Stay on Food Stamps?

Katie Pavlich

5/19/2011 11:20:00 AM - Katie Pavlich

I can't tell if this is the entitlement attitude at its worst or just plain laziness. Either way, it brings up the question of whether all of the 47 million Americans on food stamps really need to be living off of the welfare state in order to survive.

A Michigan man who won $2 million in a state lottery game continues to collect food stamps 11 months after striking it rich.

And there's nothing the state can do about it, at least for now.

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.

Classic case of: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Not only is Fick gaming the system and taking advantage of hard working taxpayers, he is pulling away resources from hurting families who actually depend on food stamps to survive on a low-income.

The worst part? He doesn't even feel bad about it and local government isn't helping by encouraging his action.