By: April Carson
A Florida couple's luck turned sour when they went to collect their lottery winnings, only to discover they owed thousands of dollars.
Dolly Kountz and Dave Kreshpane struck gold with a $2,900 win from a Pick 4 ticket. However, their prize was short-lived, as they were left with a staggering $11,000 debt.
"It felt like a slap in the face," says Kountz. "
The couple were notified by the Palm Beach County lottery office that Kountz was in debt of $11,000 in unemployment overpayments to the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), while Kreshpane had a debt of $400. They were asked to pay the debt before they could collect their winnings.
The pair had been approved for unemployment benefits, yet they were taken aback to discover that they had been deemed ineligible, resulting in unexpected overpayments.
The couple had been unaware of the debt. They believe that the state should have informed them about their overpayment status instead of surprising them with a bill after they had won a lottery prize.
"It's not fair to be penalized for something we knew nothing about," claims Kreshpane. "We were just trying to get by during these difficult times."
According to Kountz, "My jaw dropped".
"I was clueless until I tried to cash the ticket. We had no idea that they were going to take it from us."
Kountz and Kreshpane are not alone in their experience, as several other lottery winners have reported similar occurrences. In response, some states have taken steps to inform winners of possible debts in advance.
The "Unusual Circumstances" that qualify for waiver requests range from overpaid unemployment benefits to child support. The DEO must approve these requests, including those of individuals like Kountz and Kreshpane.
It's recommended that individuals who received unemployment benefits should check for overpayments. Furthermore, the lottery money is yet to be received by the couple.
Although the Kountz and Kreshpane have had their luck turn sour, they are hopeful that their situation will turn in their favor.
While winning the lottery can be thrilling, the actual amount of money one takes home can come as an unwelcome surprise to many.
Jane Rowell, from Florida, won $1 million in the lottery but ended up with $640,000 after necessary withholdings were taken out. She commented that "you think you're going to get something and you don't".
The Department of Economic Opportunity says it is not their intention to "hold up lottery winners" and that they have set-up an appeals process. "We want to make sure that individuals are aware of the overpayments and if they're in debt, they can file for a waiver."
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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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