08 Oct Illinois’ Budget Dispute Continues to Add to $6 Billion in Deferred Lottery Payments
Winners awaiting lottery payments in Illinois are still getting the cold-shoulder from state lawmakers as they approach the third straight month without a budget for the new fiscal year, which expired in July. It doesn’t matter if they want a lump sum versus annuity settlement option, for wins over $25,000 lottery officials and the funds which are controlled by the state cannot legally be paid out until a budget is passed. Currently, there are over two dozen winners awaiting lottery payments totaling over $6 billion, according to Bloomberg.com.
One of the biggest winners in the state in lottery limbo is Danny Chasteen. He bought a scratch off ticket in July that was a $250,000 winner. He’s one of the many that have decided to pursue legal actions after was he turned away when he went to cash it in for a lump sum lottery payout.
“People are spending thousands of dollars a day on lottery tickets, and they don’t get paid?” said Chasteen’s girlfriend, Susan Rick. “That’s illegal, and that’s fraud.”
Lottery payments aren’t the only thing getting held up by the absence of a budget. Arguably more important are the almost 150,000 current, retired, and contracted employees who can’t receive the healthcare payments they’re entitled to until a budget is passed. Led by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, this group has also filed a lawsuit against the state of Illinois. There’s no question the state is hoping for a resolution before any sort of proceedings commence, especially considering the average employee lawsuit pays out $150,000.
It’s somewhat incredible to think the IOU total has amassed to over $6 billion, even though the suspension only applies to winnings over $25,000. What should be a time of excitement and celebration has turned into a confusing and frustrating waiting game.
It does provide a good example of why you shouldn’t make any rash decisions immediately after a big win. For starters, you never win quite as much as you think since the government withholds up to 25% of jackpot winnings. On top of that, Chasteen was seriously considering being one of the more than half (52%) of people that quit their jobs after winning the lotto.
Rhonda Rasche had plans to use some of the $50,000 she won to take her sister and a friend on a vacation after her mother passed away recently. Another family has their boxes packed and are just waiting on the $400,000 Helen Whitfield won before they move to Florida, according to Today.com.
“We’re not going to be able to enjoy it as old as we are if we don’t get it,” Whitfield said.
The state legislatures have returned from their summer break, but there are still no signs of a breakthrough yet. For now the unlucky-lucky winners can only wait and dream about how they plan to use their lottery payments once they finally get them.