18 Sep Failure to Pass Budget Halts Lottery Payments to Jackpot Winners
Typically, a Mega Millions jackpot winner will be paid in the form of a lottery annuity with one immediate payment followed by 29 annual ones that increase by 5% each year. So for a $50 million win you would receive $750,000, followed by annual payments that would grow to about $3.1 million. However, that’s not currently the case for recent jackpot winners in the state of Illinois. Danny Chasteen, a 56-year-old manufacturing foreman from LaSalle County, is just one of the lucky, yet unfortunate winners stuck in lottery payments limbo as a result of state legislators’ failure to pass a budget by the July 1 deadline, according to abcnews.com.
“I bought a ticket and scratched it off. I don’t get it,” Chasteen said. “If it was me owing the state money, but I don’t have the budget together, they would take me to court and get my money.”
If Chasteen sounds a bit ornery it’s because he has 250,000 reasons to be. That’s how much he (supposedly) won on a Cool Cash scratch-off in late July. Over a month later, he still hasn’t seen a penny of it. According to state lottery officials, only payouts under $25,000 can be made until a new budget is approved. They issued the following statement:
“Due to the ongoing budget situation in Springfield, some lottery payments have been delayed. All winners will be paid in full as soon as the Lottery and the Illinois Comptroller have the legislative authority to do so.”
Unlike normal winners who can decide between selling lottery payments for a lump sum versus annuity payout, Chasteen and other big winners are left with IOUs and the tormented feeling of not being able to obtain what’s been promised to them. Not to mention bills, loans, and other expenses they have already planned to put some of their money toward.
Chasteen, for example, was recently forced to take out a $3,000 loan to pay off some bills, something he wouldn’t have had to do, had he been given the money already. Now he’ll be stuck paying that back with whatever interest it accumulates once they finally lift the lottery jackpot moratorium. Hopefully that won’t be too far in the future. Until then Chasteen and other winners can only plan how they will spend the money, and try to avoid becoming one of the 70% of lottery winners that spend or lose all their money within five years.