A SWEET windfall for a lotto winner turned sour after authorities took away some of his winnings.
Brisbane’s Craig Hill was on cloud nine when he won £48,000 in October, but was dealt a major blow when he was told he had to pay half of his earnings.
The disabled pensioner would receive benefits of £3,000 every month in 2024.
However, the social security agency Centrelink has classified Craig as a professional gambler, and his monthly prize money is seen as income and not a lottery prize.
This will see his benefit cut by £400 every fortnight, along with his wife’s carer’s allowance, reducing their monthly household income by more than £1,500.
Over a twelve-month period that amounts to a whopping £18,000.
The former prison English teacher told Yahoo News: “If I had won a lump sum of £48,000 or even a lump sum of £480,000, that’s an asset, but if I get it paid monthly it’s an income like gamble.
“It’s ridiculous that one lottery prize is assets and the other is lottery prize income.”
Craig left his job at Townsville Correctional Center in 2019 after an inmate situation triggered his PTSD.
He was subsequently given a monthly pension by the Australian authorities.
But the Lotto win has turned his life upside down as he will lose more money than what he will earn.
A desperate Craig turned to Lotto authorities to help him avoid the Centrelink payment, but they rejected his plea.
“I asked The Lott if I could get a lump sum and they said this would only happen in exceptional circumstances and that this is not an exceptional circumstance.
“They just say: ‘These are our rules and you have to stick to them’.”
Craig was diagnosed with schizophrenia thirty years ago, and he wanted to use his lottery winnings for better medical treatment.
He said, “I had hoped to use some of the money to get a psychiatrist so I could get medication reviews and transcranial magnetic stimulation.”
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