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Brittany Wilson, a financially struggling mother in Florida, experienced a rollercoaster of emotions due to a recent lottery win that initially brought her joy but soon morphed into a distressing ordeal. In an interview with ABC Action News, Wilson described her decision to buy a lottery ticket as a desperate move during tough financial times.

“I was financially struggling … something just told me to go to the store and try out my winnings,” Wilson recounted. Her gamble paid off when she won $5,000, a sum that brought her to tears thinking about clearing her piled-up bills and spending on her children, who are her top priority, via Tha Sun.

However, Wilson’s excitement quickly turned into frustration when she attempted to collect her prize. At the Florida Lottery District Office, she was presented with a ‘Special Circumstances ticket’ informing her of a potential debt related to past unemployment compensation, which needed to be verified with the Department of Commerce.

Wilson was stunned, especially since she had previously collected $1,000 from a scratch-off card in 2023 without any issues. “This can’t be right,” she expressed her disbelief to ABC, explaining that she had not been informed of any debt by the state despite her active efforts to stay in contact with the Florida Unemployment Assistance Program.

ABC Action News highlighted that Wilson’s case is not isolated; thousands of Floridians have faced similar issues when their lottery winnings were withheld due to alleged overpaid unemployment benefits. Many were unaware of any overpayment until they attempted to claim their lottery prizes.

Wilson voiced her frustration and the need for resolution, especially given the current economic climate where living costs are continuously rising. “This cannot keep happening — with the times now, where [the price of]everything’s going up: rent’s going up, food’s going up. Let me have this money,” she pleaded.

Fortunately, after ABC’s investigative efforts, which included sending the state the names and details of over 530 affected individuals, Wilson’s alleged debt was cleared, allowing her to finally claim her winnings two weeks later. Yet, many others are still in limbo, fighting to receive their rightfully won prizes.

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