UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – A Prince George’s County woman who regularly buys tickets for Powerball and Mega Millions doesn’t always check to see if she won a prize. If the jackpot rolls, she just checks her tickets later. She unknowingly set aside a $1 million winning ticket from the Aug. 14 Powerball drawing and finally claimed her prize on Nov. 22.

“I guess I should check more often,” she said, laughing.

A resident of a small town, the anonymous player bought a single $2 quick-pick ticket in Carroll County on Aug. 13 for the Powerball drawing the next day. No one hit that jackpot of $285 million or those that followed until Oct. 4, when a California player won $699.8 million. While winning the jackpot is the stuff of Lottery fantasies, there are substantial prizes at the second- and third-tier levels that players win more frequently. For matching all five regular balls but not the Powerball, the second-tier prize is the $1 million won by our happy player.

After scanning her ticket and seeing that it was worth a life-changing amount of money, the 55-year-old was in a state of disbelief. Even while making her claim, she was still in a happy haze.

“I didn’t think it was real. I still don’t,” she said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet. You don’t get that every day!” The loyal player added that she has more tickets she needs to check at home, too!

There’s good reason for any player to check an old ticket as lower-tier prizes for Powerball and Mega Millions, in particular, range from $2 to $1 million or more. At present, 21 unclaimed tickets a month old or older and worth $10,000 or more remain active and available to claim. The deadline for claiming prizes is 182 days after the drawing date.

Among the big unclaimed prizes is a $10 million Powerball Double Play ticket sold in Rockville, two additional Powerball tickets worth $100,000 or more each sold in Rockville and Bel Air, as well as five Powerball tickets worth $50,000. Rounding out the unclaimed group are Racetrax, FAST PLAY and Keno tickets sold at locations across Maryland.

The player said she has not thought about what to do with the winnings, who she would tell of her lucky win (beyond her daughter and a few friends) or even how to celebrate the win.

Her lucky Lottery retailer is Jiffy Mart at 3137 Baltimore Boulevard in Finksburg. The Carroll County business receives a bonus of $2,500 for selling a second-tier winning Powerball ticket.