"You take for granted that you do your taxes and you're gonna get it back," she said.
As a single mother, every penny counts for Cotten.
"I was relying on it. I'm a single person out here and I work two jobs so I do depend on it," she said.
Cotton depends on it so much that she didn't procrastinate. She filed her return on February 2. That was five weeks ago, and yet there's no sign of her money.
Last year by this time, the Department of Revenue says it had already sent out 1.4 million checks. This week, only 1.1 million will have gone out. A spokesperson admitted the state is hundreds of thousands of checks behind schedule - and that it's being forced to take money from special accounts just to keep up.
The sour economy is to blame, and it's leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of taxpayers.
"I felt like they should let us know," said Cotton. "It's just pretty scary. It lets you know the economy is far worse than what you may have thought."
State officials say if you're one of the many expecting a state refund, don't worry, you'll get it. But, instead of taking two weeks, it could take up to six.