how long to claim lottery ticket

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.

You’ve won the Mega Millions jackpot. Now what?

Have your lucky numbers ready for the Mega Millions jackpot? Buzz60’s Mercer Morrison has the story.

A view of a sign showing the jackpot for the Mega Millions lottery at $900 million in New York, New York, on October 17, 2018. (Photo: Justin Lane, EPA)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Despite the terrible odds – one in 302.5 million for those keeping score at home – someone will eventually match all six numbers and win the Mega Millions jackpot, now at $900 million. It could happen as soon as Friday night, when the next drawing is held, leaving most of us disappointed but some lucky winner beset by a host of questions.

Here are some answers for someone holding that prized lottery ticket.


Lottery officials recommend winners take a deep breath, put their winning ticket in a safe spot and consult with a reputable financial planner before popping over to the lottery headquarters. Their first decision is whether to take the cash option, which would now be $513 million, or an annuity, with one initial payment and annual installments over 29 years. Nearly all winners opt for cash, but the annuity has advantages, as it reduces the tax bill a little and offers a stable flow of income that climbs by 5 percent annually.


States have different rules, so depending on where you purchased the ticket, you have from 180 days to a year.


No, you can’t just cash one of those oversized checks shown in all the winner photos. Payment speed also varies by state, but a week or two is common. Carole Gentry, a spokeswoman for the Maryland lottery, said the requirement is seven to 10 days in that state.


Winners can remain anonymous in six states – Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina. In Arizona, people who win more than $600 can keep their names secret for 90 days after claiming prizes, but after that names are public record. In Michigan, winners are anonymous unless they win Mega Millions or Powerball prizes.


For winners of $5,000 or more, all states automatically deduct 24 percent in federal taxes but state taxes vary widely. Some big states, including California, don’t withhold taxes from lottery winnings, and some like Texas don’t have individual income taxes at all. For the others, the state takes a bite, especially in New York, where a winner would need to pay a state tax of 8.8 percent. Residents of New York City would pay an additional tax of 3.9 percent. In general, taxes eat up nearly half of winnings.

Melissa Labant, a tax policy expert at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, said winners should realize that while taxes are initially withheld when prizes are awarded, more money will likely be due at tax time as people suddenly are in up to a 37 percent tax bracket.

“That catches people off guard,” she said. “You have to be prepared to write another check to the IRS in April.”


This can get complicated, but for the most part winners pay taxes where they bought the ticket and then can get a credit on their taxes in their home state. The final tax bill can depend on if the state where you live taxes at a higher or lower rate than where you purchased the ticket. Rules vary by state, so this is a good topic for that financial planner.

It could happen as soon as Friday night, when the next drawing is held, leaving most of us disappointed but some lucky winner beset by a host of questions.