‘Christmas miracle:’ News 6 helps DeBary mother get lotto winnings after DEO issue

Shawndra Wilson plans to use the money to buy Christmas gifts for her 7 children

A DeBary mother can now make Christmas special for her seven children after News 6 stepped in to help get her lottery winnings following a snag with the Department of Economic Opportunity.

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – A DeBary mother can now make Christmas special for her seven children after News 6 stepped in to help get her lottery winnings following a snag with the Department of Economic Opportunity.

On Thursday, News 6 reported Shawndra Wilson lost her winnings to the state due to an issue with overpayments. Twenty-four hours after News 6 reached out to the agency, we got results — and Wilson got her money.

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Wilson’s tree may not have any presents under it now, but it won’t stay like that for long.

“It wouldn’t have happened without you,” she told News 6.

News 6 was there as Wilson picked up her $2,000 check from the Florida Lottery on Friday. She said she tried doing this days ago, but she was told she couldn’t take home her winnings.

“It’s been a really hard few months. I thought it was my saving grace,” Wilson said on Thursday.

Wilson purchased two lotto scratch tickets in October. She held onto the tickets until this week. She said she planned to use the money to buy Christmas gifts for her seven kids.

When she went by the lotto office in Altamonte Springs on Tuesday, she was told she couldn’t collect her winnings. Wilson said DEO records showed she owed them $11,000 for unemployment benefits overpayment.

“It’s been a rough couple of days,” Wilson said.

Wilson owned a custom cake business. She said orders stopped coming in during the pandemic. She added that she was eligible and collected pandemic unemployment assistance for six months, but the payments stopped when she got a new job.

Wilson said she didn’t know about the overpayment until she tried collecting her lotto winnings.

“Other people are going through this, and it’s horrible. It’s a horrible feeling when you get told you have this huge overpayment hanging over your head,” she said.

Wilson said the DEO waived the overpayment, but she was told it could take weeks to get the money.

“I definitely was not expecting this money before Christmas,” she said.

News 6 stepped in and got results. Less than 24 hours after we brought Wilson’s case to the DEO, the agency lifted the hold, so she could pick up her check.

A spokesperson said in a statement to News 6:

“It’s a huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” Wilson said.

Wilson said she is now looking forward to Christmas morning and making the holiday special for her children.

“You did get results for me. It’s a Christmas miracle for me, and I really appreciate it,” she said.

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