Powerball is an amazing opportunity for an average person to turn their life around, even though the chances are slim. If by any chance you do win at Powerball, you’ll probably want to know how soon you can get a hold of that money.
How long it would take to get the lottery money from Powerball will depend on your winnings. If you won a small prize, the payout should be immediate. If you won a medium prize, the payout would come the very next day. However, if you win a jackpot, the payout will happen within the next 5 to 10 days.
Of course, you can also take more time to claim your winnings — especially if you need to arrange for a safe environment for your family and find expert advisors. If you want to know more about winning money from Powerball and what it entails, read on.
How to Claim the Money From Powerball
Claiming lottery money isn’t a seamless process most people imagine. You can’t just show up and ask for it, walk away, and quit your job. There’s more nuance to it.
To claim your money, you first have to have your ticket signed. This is the most important part, and it will allow the entire process to be much smoother — and easier on your nerves. A good recommendation is to keep that ticket safe and keep quiet about your winnings. You can never be too careful when it comes to large sums of money.
The next thing to do is to go to the relevant lottery authority. Most of the time, if your winnings are small, you’ll be able to get the money immediately. However, if you won a medium to the jackpot prize, you will have to stop by an official office of some sort, which depends entirely on the amount. For the largest amount, the headquarters of the Powerball lottery would be the most logical choice.
Remember to bring some sort of identification — and it can’t hurt to bring more than one. Again, if the amount of money is substantial, you would make it easier on yourself if you came prepared. Otherwise, it could be a lot of back and forth.
When you get there, they will ask you to fill out an official claim for the money. Make sure that you fill it accurately and double-check everything. If a prize is medium, you may not have to go to the lottery retailer or offices, you may be able to do everything through the mail, but it might not be as safe as actually going there and speaking to real people.
Of course, calling a relevant operator would also make sense.
While you shouldn’t claim your prize the very same day — particularly if it’s a large sum — you should make the effort to do it within the given time. More on that later.
When you try to claim the prize, you’ll have two options. For one, you’ll be able to get the payment in one single sum or over the next 30 years. You’ll have to understand the pros and cons of both options and choose the one that fits your needs best. While it may be tempting to just say that you’ll take it as a single sum, it’s best to be informed on what each option entails.
Naturally, most states will give you some time; they won’t force you to choose right away. An interesting exception to this rule is Texas, where you have to choose between lump payment and annuity payment before you even get the ticket.
You should also understand that the sum you see is not the sum you get, so don’t be disappointed. Taxes and similar elements — whatever is applicable in your state — will be taken out of that sum, and you’ll get what remains. It will still be a considerable amount of money, just not quite as much as you expected.
How Much Time Do You Have to Claim the Prize?
When it comes to how soon you can claim the money from Powerball, rules are quite clear right off the bat — you get the money immediately or the day after if the prize is small to medium and you have to wait for at least five days for a large prize. That’s all fine when you want to get the money as soon as possible.
But what happens when you need some time?
For example, if you want to consider all of your options, hire the right people, ensure your family’s safety, etc. Maybe you’re in shock and just need some time to think. It’s all normal. After all, your life will never be the same again.
And yet, you may worry at the same time that your lottery winnings will disappear if you don’t run straight for the Powerball headquarters as soon as you realize you’ve won. This is normal too. Most people don’t know how much time they have, and this leads to rushed decisions.
For one, it’s important to know that every state has different rules. In most states, if you have a small claim, you can just go back to the place where you bought the ticket — or any other seller that has the license for the lottery — and claim the prize there immediately.
For small prizes, you’ll likely want to take them immediately. There’s really no need to wait since there’s not a lot to think of.
In the case of jackpots, the rules — and needs — are a bit different. But fortunately, you can have 180 days to a year to take the money in most states. The only exceptions are New Mexico, where you get 90 days to claim the prize, Maryland, which offers 182 days, and the Virgin Islands, which offer six months of time.
To get the most accurate information for your state, you should contact your operator, but you definitely have enough time, no matter which state you are in.
Again, the procedure for jackpots is a bit more complicated. For medium prizes (anything above $600 USD), you won’t be able to get the money with a retailer, and you’ll need to go to an office building and have your claim properly validated. The claim form is also necessary. Just like with jackpot, take the time to do it properly and accurately.
There are some pros and cons to waiting to claim your prize.
For example, the pros would be to have more time to think, organize your finances, calm down, bring your family to a safe place, and so on. However, the cons are that you have to keep quiet in front of most people, keep the ticket safe, so you don’t lose it, etc. If you just claim the prize sooner, you wouldn’t have to care for its safety.
And yet, this gives you less time to prepare.
Find a middle ground that works for you.
What Happens After You Claim the Prize?
Once you claim your prize, the money will be paid out to you. Naturally, you have to choose between payment in several annuities over the next 20 to 30 years or a single payment right away (after those daunting 5 to 10 days).
If you take the payment in full sum right away, you’ll get about 61% of it. If you opt for annual payments, you get 100% of the prize you got. Check how many annuities you get over how many years before making a decision. Check the amount of money you get in that annuity as well, since it may not work for you to get that amount of money each year — it may be too small to make a difference in your life.
You also have to know that if you are not the only person who won, you’ll have to share the prize. Most people are also misguided in thinking that if two people win, both get the nominal prize, but the truth is that they don’t, and they have to split it, no matter how hard it may be.
Since only a few people win the lottery in their lifetime, there are many unknowns in the general public on how the lottery really works and what the particulars are. However, this guide has shed some light on what to do and what your options are once you realize you’ve won.
Be careful with your ticket, keep it safe, and don’t quit your job just yet. The fewer people know about it, the safer you and your family are. Take some time to think about how you’ll invest the money and play this game smart, so you avoid all the common pitfalls of winning a huge amount of money at once.