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Wait times for lottery prize payouts doubled in California

Aug 12, 2021, 12:31 pm

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California LotteryCalifornia Lottery: Wait times for lottery prize payouts doubled in CaliforniaRating:

Lottery anticipates return to normal claims operations "later this year"

By Kate Northrop

Lottery players are continuing to win big in California but are having to wait twice the amount of time it normally takes to receive their check, with some waiting more than three months.

Since late June, lottery prize payouts have slowed to a crawl in California as the Lottery adjusts its operations during the ongoing pandemic.

Normally, the processing time for claims is four to six weeks, but high numbers of winning ticket claims and temporary adjustments to procedures during the pandemic have lengthened this waiting period to as long as 10 to 16 weeks.

"Customer Service Center wait times are also longer than usual due to the volume of claim inquiries," the California Lottery said in an update late June. "Lottery staff is working overtime to decrease processing time."

One player said that she has been waiting over three months for her $30,000 prize payout after hitting the jackpot twice in a week on two different scratch-off tickets —  $20,000 on an "Ultimate Millions" ticket in April and then $10,000 on a "Money Mania" ticket a week later.

"I started crying," Linda Armstrong of Modesto told CBS13. "My gosh, nothing like that ever happens to me."

The odds of that happening to any player are very slim — about 1 in 8 million —  but the increased wait times for payouts have been keeping Armstrong's money at bay.

Armstrong wanted to use that money as quickly as possible and eagerly awaited her check for a very good reason.

"I just had a great-grandson in the end of May," she said in an interview. "When I get my money, I'm going to go up and see my great-grandson."

More than three months had passed, and she still did not have her winnings.

"I mean, it's your money once you win it, right?" Armstrong wondered.

There is some time that players should expect to wait before receiving their prize if it is valued above $600 – about four to six weeks. The Lottery performs checks to ensure that the win is legitimate and then investigates whether the winner owes any money in the form of back taxes or child support.

The Lottery increased the wait to 10 to 16 weeks to accommodate "temporary changes to Lottery operations during the pandemic." Armstrong was then told that it would be 18 weeks.

"I'd like to get some answers for why they think they're allowed to do this," Armstrong stated.

After 15 weeks of waiting, she received the checks for her winnings in the mail.

"I think it's ridiculous you have to sit and wait like you're a beggar," she concluded.

The Lottery advised that the fastest way to claim prizes over $600 and over is by making an appointment in advance or by dropping off their claim at a drop box at one of nine Lottery District Offices. They also recommended that prospective winners double-check that they complete the claim form correctly to ensure that wait times are not needlessly delayed. According to the Lottery, the number one reason for delays on verified claims is a missing signature.

"The California Lottery team is working diligently to return claim processing times back to normal," the Lottery said in a statement. "Currently, processing times are shortening and anticipate them to be back to normal later this year. We thank players for their patience and understanding."

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25 comments. Last comment 1 month ago by JackPotTad.
Page 1 of 2
Avatar

United States
Member #205224
March 19, 2020
40 Posts
Offline

Stop being a crybaby and just be thankful for the win.  With reduced staff and a huge backload of claims it takes time to process payments.

    Droptop209's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
    Newman, California
    United States
    Member #193980
    November 24, 2018
    44 Posts
    Offline

    If I win $599 or more I'm claiming the next day.  Gonna be 4+ months wait time to receive winnings.  I'm claiming ASAP.

      cottoneyedjoe's avatar - cuonvFT

      United States
      Member #197030
      March 28, 2019
      831 Posts
      Offline

      CALottery has just 9 district offices for a population of over 40 million (you need to include the illegals in that count because they can and do play the lottery.) They currently have just 11 job openings, with 10 of them at the Sacramento headquarters, and none of them are claims processing positions. But apparently the deputy director of sales & marketing's need of an assistant is a top hiring priority. 

      I'm not giving these idiots another dollar until they start paying winners in a timely manner and get their hiring priorities straight.

        Avatar
        * In hot pursuit of $ *
        White Shores- California
        United States
        Member #136471
        December 12, 2012
        6741 Posts
        Offline

        * l guess the person who won $4,472,553  last night will receive their check in Jan 2022.Disapprove

         * Voice of Reason *   

        * People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

          db101's avatar - RB55Ms1

          United States
          Member #202920
          December 14, 2019
          443 Posts
          Offline

          They are collecting interest on that money. They have no incentive to pay winners in a reaonable time frame.

            Avatar
            Gallatin Tennesee
            United States
            Member #194096
            November 29, 2018
            98 Posts
            Offline

            About 4 years ago I played my birthday on the "Cash4" drawing game in my state and ended up winning $5,000. I took the ticket to the Lottery Headquarters in Nashville, checked in at the security desk, went into the payout room, identified myself, presented them with the signed ticket, sat down and waited about 9 or 10 minutes before they called me up to the window and issued me a check for 5 grand. I said thank you and left the buiding. Not sure why it would take any state  3 or 4 months to issue a 30,000 dollar check, that's ridiculous. Having said that.......Tennessee has no where near the population of states like California. With the exception of Nashville and Elvis hometown, everything else is pretty spread out with a sparse population, so keeping track of winners and losers here would be a lot easier based on population.

            RantStooges

              hearsetrax's avatar - alien on_computer.jpg

              United States
              Member #52343
              May 21, 2007
              3393 Posts
              Offline

              * l guess the person who won $4,472,553  last night will receive their check in Jan 2022.Disapprove

              care to wager on the odds they might have to wait till the next presidential election ?? 🤔😏

                sully16's avatar - sharan
                25
                Dr.President Elect
                Michigan
                United States
                Member #81738
                October 28, 2009
                90686 Posts
                Offline

                care to wager on the odds they might have to wait till the next presidential election ?? 🤔😏

                Yes, they need deserve better leadership in Cali. it's not fair to the people, they paid their money, now give them their prize. Vote the bums out.Hyper

                 Let's go Brandon! ROFL

                  cottoneyedjoe's avatar - cuonvFT

                  United States
                  Member #197030
                  March 28, 2019
                  831 Posts
                  Offline

                  They are collecting interest on that money. They have no incentive to pay winners in a reaonable time frame.

                  Exactly.

                    Avatar
                    * In hot pursuit of $ *
                    White Shores- California
                    United States
                    Member #136471
                    December 12, 2012
                    6741 Posts
                    Offline

                    care to wager on the odds they might have to wait till the next presidential election ?? 🤔😏

                    * Ah, silliness, l will bite. It's possible that the CA lottery is going to conduct forensic tests to see if those winning tickets are truly legit.Approve

                    • They  could go looking for bamboo in those tickets, if they have time. The CA lottery not going to stand for winning tickets manufactured in Taiwan or is it Korea?Cool
                    • Perhaps we have finally happened upon the true nature for this delay!Yes Nod

                     * Voice of Reason *   

                    * People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

                      Avatar
                      Northern Beaches
                      Australia
                      Member #187034
                      January 9, 2018
                      152 Posts
                      Offline

                      The California Lottery should embrace the 21st century and offer online services. It would be very convenient for players and very efficient for the Lottery.

                        Avatar

                        United States
                        Member #149388
                        November 30, 2013
                        78 Posts
                        Offline

                        What happens when that delay pushes your receipt of the money into the next tax year?  Could make a huge difference as tax rates are likely to go up.  I believe you’re taxed based on the date you receive the funds not when the win occurred or even when you submit the claim

                          CDanaT's avatar - Nolz june15.jpg
                          Central TN
                          United States
                          Member #121187
                          January 4, 2012
                          5513 Posts
                          Offline

                          Stop being a crybaby and just be thankful for the win.  With reduced staff and a huge backload of claims it takes time to process payments.

                          With all the illegal aliens out there, getting all the freebies, I can see your point on the backlog to see whether they need to hold 24% or the 30% fed tax rate.   Star

                          Integrity: There is just no substitute.

                          A man's rights rest in 3 boxes: the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box

                            Speler's avatar - me

                            Belgium
                            Member #214858
                            April 17, 2021
                            789 Posts
                            Offline

                            I once had a 5/6 in Belgium. I went to the lotto central of this provincial city. It was over 1660 euros for one ticket, and a small amount for the other ticket. They scanned and paid out on my French-Belgian online bank account. The money immediately was on my bank account. There was no one banking day, it was there.

                            The central isn't there anymore. The price for a line doubled, the chances became smaller just like the payouts. The next lotto central is either at the sea or in Ghent if not Brussels.

                            Forget about Zero Millions, some black imam is doing the drawing on tv in Paris. The money goes to the jihad against the rude racist Americans, Jews and Christians. ... Maybe it paid the black guy killing that French priest not long ago. That church was on fire ...