A proposed rule from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services would prohibit anyone who has won more than $5,000 in the state lottery in one month from receiving SNAP funds (food stamps). DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew said that this rule was needed to ensure that only people who truly need assistance are receiving funds.
Per the DHHS, since 2010, 4,865 lottery tickets worth $1,000 or more have been cashed in by 3,685 people who receive some form of welfare benefits.
“This rule is consistent with recent Congressional reforms regarding the food stamp program and lottery winnings designed to ensure that this tax-payer funded benefit is appropriately supporting those who truly need the welfare assistance,” DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew said in a press release.
In 2015, DHHS found that since 2010, there were 4,865 winning tickets of $1,000 or more that were cashed in by 3,685 individuals who were receiving SNAP, TANF or MaineCare (or some combination of those benefits) at the time that they won. The winners received more than $22 million in prizes while open on welfare programs, according to DHHS.
Maine recently made it illegal to use EBT funds to purchase lottery tickets, liquor, and bail money.