Lottery winner options during pandemic: Mail in your winning ticket or leave it in a drop box

The Mega Millions lottery jackpot is $410 million for Tuesday night’s drawing, but if you hit it big, would you feel comfortable putting your winning ticket in the mail?

Playing the lottery is an escape from reality, and recently, it turned into $1,000 for Crystal Ramos.

“I was ecstatic because it couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Ramos said her family’s household income is down because of the pandemic, and she’s still waiting for her stimulus payment from the federal government.

“I have a one-year-old birthday coming up in two weeks, bills are stacking up,” she said.

Warren Bockhol of Port Charlotte also had some luck recently, winning $1,000 on a Gold Rush scratch-off ticket.

“Of course I went on Facebook and posted it, showed friends and family. It was cool as the highest I ever won,” he said.

Because both Ramos’ and Bockhol’s winnings exceed $600, they can’t cash in at a retail store. They have two options: mail the ticket to lottery headquarters in Tallahassee or leave it in a dropbox at a district office, which is guarded by an officer during business hours.

Mailing it in isn’t an option either of them like.

“It’s your responsibility, so if it comes up missing, they’re not held liable,” Bockhol said.

He said he likes the idea of taking it to a district office.

“I feel good with that one because then I know it’s getting where it needs to be.”

The district office in Southwest Florida is in Fort Myers on Metro Parkway.

Claim deadlines have also been extended by 90 days if the winner prefers to hold on to a ticket until the offices reopen.

Dropboxes are located at each lottery district office and are accessible Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m, EST, except for the Pensacola district office which is accessible 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m, CST. No appointment is needed to access the dropboxes. Dropbox claims will be processed in the order they are received. Payments will be made via check and mailed to the address listed on your claim form except for top prizes who will have funds transferred electronically.

Winner Claim Form

Reporter:Allison Gormly
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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