A New York couple devastated by Hurricane Sandy have had a dramatic change in circumstances after winning the lottery.
Mary Anne Daino and Dennis Klaus bought the winning ticket 176 days ago, but just recently claimed their earnings.
Daino lived in Staten Island when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, and Klaus lived in Brooklyn. Both lost their homes.
The couple met at church, and moved into a trailer together in Gaylordsville, Connecticut last year. "Connecticut took all us in with open arms and hearts," Daino said.
When they discovered the $250,000 ticket was a winner, they knew they could make the Constitution State their permanent home.
"He's going, 'No. You're kidding. You're kidding. Really?! You're kidding. Really?!'" Daino recounted of Klaus' reaction to the win. "I said, 'Yes, Dennis this is our home.'"
"We don't consider it money," Klaus added. "We consider it a home. It's a home. It's not to be spent. It's where we're going to live together and start a new life."
Daino explained that the delay in claiming the ticket was for financial planning purposes.
"I wanted to make sure I didn't owe the IRS any money or Wells Fargo," she said.
After taxes, the couple will take home about $180,000. They plan to buy a home in New Milford with the winnings.
Although they have endured severe hardships, the couple did not lose faith that things would get better. They encouraged others to do the same.
"You have to keep the faith because there is life afterwards and there's a wonderful life waiting," Daino said.
According to Porch.com, about 305,000 housing units in New York and 346,000 units in New Jersey were destroyed by the superstorm. Sandy caused over $50 billion in damage and dozens of deaths in the US and the Caribbean.