Half a million dollars is back where it belongs tonight, in the hands of a family dealing with a terminal cancer diagnosis.
They thought their medical bills were settled when they beat the odds and won a lottery prize.
But when that money didn’t arrive, they turned to NBC 5 Responds.
“All of a sudden I saw ‘you won $450,000.’ I couldn’t believe it,” said Jim, who asked that we not use his last name for privacy reasons.
“He got down on his knees and started crying. And I had no control. I just started going around in circles
. I thought “this can’t be real”. This can’t be real! » said Kim, Jim’s wife.
Winning $450,000 in the Illinois Lottery couldn’t have come at a better time for south suburban Jim and Kim.
Their daughter-in-law, Bonnie, was recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
“(Bonnie) has nothing left. She can’t see, she can hear. She can no longer use her hands. She is unable to walk. She can barely speak,” Kim said.
“It was very expensive because my son has difficulty paying for his medicine. Pay for his treatments,” Jim said.
A VICTORY ; BUT NO GAINS
Even if the Lotto win comes at the perfect time, the money itself would be much more difficult to collect.
“They filled out the paperwork, ‘you’ll receive it in four to six weeks.’ So I marked it on the calendar… Well, it passed and nothing happened,” Jim said.
“Where are you going? It’s almost like you’re fighting City Hall,” Kim said.
“We didn’t even feel like we won because a lot of weeks go by and you wonder, is this going to another person? Is there another one… is this going to the correct bank account? said Jim, “it’s like ‘why should I play it if they don’t pay?’ ; »
ONE CALL FOR IMMEDIATE RESULTS
That’s when the couple decided to contact NBC Responds.
We contacted the Illinois Lottery and a few minutes later Jim received a phone call.
“I received a call from the Illinois Lottery budget claims manager. She said: “I want to apologize for the way you were treated by my staff. And you should have your money in your bank account the next day,” Jim said.
As promised, the money arrived in Jim’s bank account the next morning.
In a statement to NBC Responds, the Illinois Lottery told us: “While every effort is made to process claims as quickly as possible, several factors may cause a delay, including completion of the claim form, volume of prize claims being processed, submission of all required documents and the quality of ticket images uploaded.
Illinois Lotto sent us a list of resources for winners, including: When You Win | Claim Center Locations | Claim a prize | Illinois Lottery and WinnersHandbook_Aug2023.pdf
“That one or two phone calls or whatever happened, it means everything to us. (NBC responds) not only did you make our day come true, but you also made many dreams come true,” Jim said.
Kim and Jim’s case made history at NBC Chicago. This is the largest amount of money NBC 5 Responds has collected for a viewer in the station’s 75-year history.
If you have a consumer issue you would like NBC Responds to investigate, contact investigator PJ Randhawa directly at PJ.Randhawa@NBCuni.com.