how long do you have to claim powerball winnings

How Long After Winning The Lottery Do You Get The Money?

Not very long, as it turns out.

How long does it take to get lottery winnings?

Processing times as well as prize thresholds vary with each state, but generally speaking, the larger the prize, the longer it will take to collect your winnings.

No cause for alarm, however. You’ll get your money within a reasonable amount of time no matter what. Once you have come forward with the winning ticket, you can expect the typical scenarios:

  • Small prizes up to $600: Paid out immediately.
  • Mid-range prizes: Paid out on the same day or the next banking day.
  • Jackpot prizes: Paid out in 5 to 10 banking days.


Mega Millions

How long do you have to claim a Powerball ticket?

Depending on where you purchased your Powerball ticket, you have between 90 days to one year after the drawing to claim your winnings. Beyond that, your ticket expires and you forfeit your prize. You can also look at the back of your ticket for its expiration date.

Or check out the table below of Powerball claim periods for all territories the game is available in:

Remember that you must claim your winnings in the jurisdiction where you purchased your lottery ticket.

Free Lottery Tips Video

How long do you have to claim a Mega Millions ticket?

For Mega Millions, claim periods for each state and jurisdiction are the same as Powerball’s. The only difference is that Puerto Rico is not on the list, since the game is not available in that country.

Find out how long you have to claim your Mega Millions ticket based on your state in the table below:

If you win the lottery, how do you get the money?

How does the lottery payout work?

For most lotteries, the grand prize or jackpot is paid out to winners in a single lump sum (cash option) or over 20+ graduated payments (annuity option).

The cash option for Powerball and Mega Millions is typically equivalent to

61% of the advertised jackpot. This is the percentage of the prize pool that is allocated to funding the jackpot.

The annuity option is equivalent to 100% of the advertised jackpot, and is based on the funds in the prize pool, expected ticket sales, and current market interest rates. Annuity payments are usually paid out over 29 years, although different lotteries and jurisdictions may have varying rules.

In the event of multiple jackpot winners, the prize is divided equally between them.

Secondary prizes are usually fixed amounts, and are paid out in cash.

As for taxes, it depends on the lottery and its local laws. Generally speaking however, all lottery winnings you earn in a year can be taxed. If you want to get a more detailed look at all the math involved, or just want to perform your own calculations, please feel free to check out our lottery calculators page for specific numbers and formulas.


Mega Millions

How to Claim Lottery Winnings

The first thing you should do is make sure you’ve signed the back of your ticket.

Next, bring your ticket to the relevant lottery authority to claim your winnings. For most US lotteries, winnings up to $600 can be claimed directly from any authorized retailer. Larger prizes including the jackpot can be claimed from claim centers, district offices, or the lottery headquarters, depending on the amount. This will also require the winner to complete a claim form and provide valid forms of identification.

In many states, secondary prizes can also be claimed by mail. Check with your local lottery operator to see what your options are.

If you purchased your ticket online, chances are your prize is already in your player account. If you won a significant sum, you have to contact the lottery operator to claim your winnings.

And please remember to redeem your ticket within the time period allowed. Check the table above for Powerball and Mega Millions claim periods.

How to Claim Powerball and Mega Millions Winnings

Same steps as mentioned above, but take note of the following when claiming Powerball and Mega Millions winnings:

  • Powerball and Mega Millions jackpot prizes can be paid out in a single lump sum, or 30 graduated payments over 29 years.
  • In most jurisdictions, winners have 60 days after redeeming their ticket to choose between the lump sum or annuity option. There are some exceptions, however. In Texas for example, players must choose between the cash or annuity before paying for their lottery ticket.
  • Federal and applicable state income taxes will automatically be deducted from your winnings.

Finally, take a look at our guide on What to Do After Winning the Lottery where we’ll give you our recommendations on how to handle big lottery wins.

Also check out the following tools for calculating your winnings to help you plan ahead:

And if you haven’t purchased your lottery ticket yet, check out our article on the best lottery software to help you pick the winning numbers.

Winning the lottery comes with deadlines. In this article, find out how much time you have to redeem your ticket, how long it takes for prizes to be paid out, and some things to remember when claiming your prize.

8 Smart Things to Do Before Claiming a Powerball Jackpot

Before You Cash In Your Winning Powerball Ticket, Do These Important Things

Many people dream about winning a big Powerball jackpot, but do you know what to do if your winning number actually comes up? If your first instinct is to rush out and cash your ticket immediately, think again. Once you claim your jackpot, lots of things start changing very quickly, and you want to be prepared. Here are 8 sensible things to do before you claim a Powerball prize.

1. Protect Your Winning Lottery Ticket

If you’ve just found out that you have won a Powerball jackpot, the very first thing that you should do is to sign the back of the ticket.

Why? Because no one keeps track of who owns Powerball tickets. All you have to do to claim a Powerball prize is to show identification that matches the signature on the back. If your jackpot-winning ticket gets lost or stolen, anyone could claim your cash if you haven’t signed your ticket.

One thing to be aware of before you sign: some states allow winners to let a trustee or foundation sign their ticket to help protect their anonymity. In 2018, a New Hampshire jackpot winner sued for the right to remove her name and add a trustee instead. She won her case, but you’d save yourself time and effort if you research whether you want to do this before you win your jackpot.

It’s a good idea to take pictures of the front and the back of the lottery ticket, to give you some legal standing as the owner if you lose your ticket.

Once you’ve taken care of that, find a safe place to store your ticket while you get everything else straightened out. Since you won’t cash it in immediately, you’re going to want the peace of mind of knowing exactly where it is and that no one can get to it. A home safe, a lockbox, or a safety deposit box at a bank are all good options.

2. Check How Much Time You Have to Claim Your Powerball Prize

Your life is going to change as soon as you cash in your ticket, so you want to make sure that you have everything in order before that happens. To plan your time, it’s important to know how long you have before you claim your prize.

Every jurisdiction that sells Powerball tickets has its own rules about when you have to claim your prize. Even the prize value affects how much time you have; jackpot winners sometimes have longer than winners of other prizes.

To find out how much time you have, look at your ticket. There should be a date there. If not, contact your local lottery and ask about their prize claim policy. Then put that time to good use; wait until nearly the end of your term before you cash in your winning ticket.

3. Find Out Whether You Can Remain Anonymous

Many winners want to stay anonymous after winning the lottery. There are many advantages to anonymity. For example, you won’t be pestered by people and organizations looking for money, or by journalists wanting an interview, and you’ll have more control over how and when your life changes.

Unfortunately, anonymity isn’t always possible. Most jurisdictions want to announce their jackpot winners to show that the prizes are being awarded legitimately.

Before you tell anyone about your lottery win, find out what your options for anonymity are.

In some jurisdictions, you must reveal your name, place of residence, and photo when you win a Powerball jackpot and the lottery commission must relay that information to any third party who requests it.

In other areas, you can claim the prize under a trust, which can shield your true name. Sometimes, winners are allowed to use their first initial instead of their full first name, which can grant some protection.

If you live close enough to a state that protects its Powerball winners’ anonymity — such as Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Carolina — consider traveling to those states to buy your tickets. Privacy laws depend on where you bought your ticket, not where you live.

4. Make Yourself Harder to Contact

Many lottery curse victims said that being constantly barraged by people who wanted to ask for interviews, appearances on reality TV shows, handouts, and more turned a dream win into a nightmare. Before you have to face that kind of pressure, make yourself harder for the paparazzi to get in touch with.

Change your telephone number, and only give the new number to people you trust. Set up a P.O. box for your mailing address. Delete your social media accounts or start new, anonymous ones and follow only your closest real-life friends. Consider hiring a virtual assistant to handle calls and schedule any appearances you want to make.

Although taking these steps might seem excessive, you’ll be grateful for the ability to control who can get in touch with you once you’re in high demand.

5. Hire a Team of Experienced Professionals to Help You Manage Your Winnings

Before you claim your Powerball prize, you want to have a team in place who can protect you from legal problems and help you manage your money. At the very least, you are going to need a lawyer, an accountant, and a financial advisor. You’re going to need help setting up trusts, protecting yourself from frivolous lawsuits, and more.

It’s a good idea to look for professionals who have experience managing windfalls. Forbes has a list of questions to ask to ensure you find the right professional for you.

Aside from professionals to deal with your money, also consider hiring a therapist. You might be surprised by the emotions that surround winning a big lottery prize and the strain it can put on your personal relationships.

You might feel stressed, overwhelmed, or even guilty for winning when someone else might have deserved it more. You might feel betrayed by so-called friends who let your money change their feelings toward you. A therapist can help you deal with these emotions in a healthy way, before they start getting you down.

6. Think About Your Options When Claiming Your Powerball Jackpot

When you win a Powerball jackpot, you need to decide whether to receive a lump-sum or annuity payout. There is no one right answer; the correct decision depends on your personality and financial situation.

Consult with your financial advisors to help you determine the right course of action.

7. Write Down Your Goals and Dreams

Dreaming about what you would do with a huge Powerball payout is an exciting part of playing the lottery. and you don’t have to wait for a win to do it. If you actually win that jackpot, you’ll have the chance to make those dreams come true. But even a seemingly endless amount of money can disappear if you don’t have a plan for it.

To avoid this, take the time to set some concrete goals to achieve with your windfall. On that list should be paying off any debt. After that, consider what’s important to you — maybe helping your friends and family, contributing to specific charities, buying big-ticket items for yourself like a new house, a new car, and a dream vacation, or perhaps even setting up a legacy like a trust to help your community or a wing in a local hospital.

If you need some inspiration, check out these Lottery Success Stories to see what other big lottery winners have accomplished with their millions.

Once you have your goals written down, you can take them to your financial advisors to help you find the best way to achieve them.

8. Think About What You Want to Stay the Same

A lot of things in your life are going to change once you have won a big jackpot, but there are probably some things that you want to stay the same. Thinking about those things ahead of time can help you protect them when things start getting crazy.

For example, while some people can’t wait to quit their jobs, others want to hold on to them. Your relationships might be very important to maintain. You might want to ensure that your children stay grounded or that you remain in a community that you care about. Thinking about these things before you claim your Powerball prize gives you firm goals to work toward.

Things NOT to Do Before Claiming Your Powerball Prize

There are a lot of wise things to do before you claim your Powerball prize, but there are a few things you definitely should not do as well. For example, you shouldn’t make any big changes right away including quitting your job, selling your house, or starting or ending a relationship. The time right after you win the lottery is very emotional, and you might not be making sound decisions.

There are other good reasons for ​keeping your job after winning the lottery. You might find out you’re not quite as rich (or at least, as cashflow positive) as you expect right away. And keeping your job might keep you grounded.

You also don’t want to start throwing your money around. It takes time for the money to show up in your bank account, and you want to have a solid plan and a strict budget before you start spending.

Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time for the good life, but you need to ensure that you stay responsible and don’t make choices you will regret later.

Won a big Powerball jackpot? Do these eight wise things before you claim your prize to ensure that you protect your winnings.