Florida woman receives check months after lottery winnings garnished by state unemployment agency

Two weeks ago, FOX 35 aired a story of a woman who won the lottery but couldn't claim her winnings because the state said she owed money.

She won back in June, but just this week she finally received a check for the full $2,900 and a letter saying she owes nothing.

"I had to thank the man upstairs first because he was listening to my prayers," said Elizabeth Thorton, who originally won on June 26.

When she first tried to claim her winnings at a lottery office, she was told it had been garnished by the state's unemployment agency, claiming she was overpaid in unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

"I said you know what, I’m going to do what I need to do and fight it to the end because I know I don’t owe $8,000," Thornton said.

Since FOX 35 shared her story, dozens of people have reached out saying they're in the same situation.

Thornton knew she wasn't alone and hoped her success story would help them.

"Just fight for it," Thornton said. "If they told you they were going to waive it, then just keep calling and seeing what’s going to happen. If it happened for me, it can happen for the next person. I hope I was a big help."

FOX 35 reached out to FloridaCommerce, but it's still unclear if it's the agency's policy to garnish winnings for overpayments that were waived.

Thornton hopes to share her winnings with her family and pay some bills.

"I just want to thank everybody with Fox News and everybody who participated, everybody who was willing to listen to my story," Thornton said.