This Florida mother’s lotto jackpot became a “complete nightmare” when the government took control of her winnings


When Brittany Wilson felt the urge to try her luck in the Florida lottery, she was going through a difficult moment.

“It was difficult for me at that time,” the mother of modest means told ABC Action News. “My finances were not going well. I feel like I should go to the store and use my winnings, something told me.

That day, Wilson had Lady Luck on his side. Her $5,000 award was so big given her financial situation that she claims to have sobbed with happiness.

She told ABC, “I was thinking about all the bills that I have held up, just paying those off,” and that she was eager to spend some cash on her children, who are her “everything.”

Wilson shed tears of joy, but they soon turned to sorrow when she was denied access to her windfall at the Florida Lottery District Office. Her instance is actually one of hundreds in Florida, where many people receive unpleasant surprises in place of winning a prize.

One winner told ABC Action News, “Something that was so exciting became an absolute nightmare.”

Debt owned by the state

On January 3, 2024, Wilson went to pick up her prizes and was given a “Special Circumstances ticket” indicating that she might be in debt to the state.

The ticket required the Florida Lottery to get in touch with the Department of Economic Opportunity, which is now known as the Department of Commerce, in order to determine whether Wilson had ever owing money for unemployment benefits.

Wilson, who won $1,000 on a scratch-off card in 2023 and had no trouble getting the money, exclaimed, “This can’t be right.”

Wilson asserts that she never had a call, email, or letter from the state informing her that they were owed money. According to her statement to ABC, she calls the Florida Unemployment Assistance Program “nearly every day” and complains about having to wait “two hours, at most three, just to speak to someone” in order to resolve the issue.

“You guys [the state] should be able to get in touch with me if you can figure out whether or not I’m employed to see if I’m eligible for unemployment benefits. She pointed out the fundamental misunderstanding at the root of the problem by saying, “My email on that site is still the same.”

Numerous contestants

According to ABC’s story, thousands of Floridians, including Wilson, have received tickets of this kind and had their wins taken by the state for overpaying unemployment benefits. Although some have successfully challenged this, it seems that the issue is persistent.

More than 530 persons in the similar situation had their names and details forwarded to the state by ABC investigative reporter Kylie McGivern; most of them were unaware that they had allegedly been overpaid in unemployment benefits until they went to pick up and were turned down for their lotto winnings.

Wilson stated, “Something has to be done.” “This cannot continue to occur in the current climate, where prices are rising for everything from food to rent. Give this money to me.

She makes a good point when she says that, in the current economy, every bit helps.

The US housing market is still a major contributor to inflation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Consumer Price Index data shows that, in April 2024, rent increased by 0.4% from March. In the meantime, the food index increased by 0.3% in April following a 0.4% rise in March.

Wilson was eventually able to claim her lottery winnings and have her alleged debt removed from the system two weeks after ABC got involved. Some are still battling for their reward.

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