When a stroke of luck turns into a financial nightmare, the consequences can be devastating. A Florida couple recently experienced such a turn of events after winning a $2700 lottery scratcher. Here’s what happened.
The Winning Ticket
Dolly and Dave were overjoyed when their Pick 4 ticket proved to be a winner. Eager to claim their prize, they headed to the Palm Beach County Lottery Office.
An Unexpected and Substantial Debt
Little did they know that their visit would reveal an unexpected and substantial debt owed to the Department of Economic Opportunity.
Things Took a Turn
The couple was informed that Dolly owed up to $11,000 to the DEO, while Dave had a further $400 in debt.
They Were Completely Unaware of It
The debt originated from overpaid unemployment benefits, which they were completely unaware of.
The Winnings Were Withheld
Instead of receiving their winnings, the couple’s prize was withheld to cover the outstanding debt.
The Couple Was Shocked
Dolly expressed her shock, stating that she believed anyone who has ever collected unemployment benefits had experienced an overpayment at some point.
She Had No Idea About the Debt
She admitted that she had no idea about the debt until she went to cash her winning ticket.
She Wasn’t Paying Attention
As a retired truck driver turned self-employed Uber driver, Dolly had not been closely monitoring her accounts, assuming that she would receive a physical letter if any debts arose.
Dismissed Without Further Assistance
Dave echoed her sentiments, highlighting the lack of concern shown by the authorities. He felt that they were handed a letter and dismissed without further assistance or guidance.
This Is Not an Isolated Incident
According to figures obtained from the Florida Lottery by DailyMail, approximately 5,060 lottery winners received debt notifications between January 2022 and January 2023.
The DEO Defended Its Actions
The majority of these debts were owed to the DEO. The DEO defended its actions, stating that the presence of an overpayment flag does not necessarily mean that an overpayment has occurred.
A Common Phenomenon
Unfortunately, Dolly and Dave’s experience is not an isolated incident. Many other lottery winners find themselves in similar situations when claiming their winnings.
These cases, often referred to as “unusual circumstances,” typically involve the discovery of unknown federal debts related to unemployment or child support payments.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Robert Kneschke. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.
Source: Daily Mail