Winning Responsibly Tips
As a winner, you have a lot of important decisions ahead of you. The information found on this website can be helpful in answering most questions, but if you can’t find the information you’re looking for here, please contact Florida Lottery’s Customer Service at (850) 487-7787.
- Sign your ticket as soon as you buy it.
- This makes sure that if you lose your ticket, no one else can claim your prize.
- Keep your ticket in a safe and secure place.
- If you misplace your winning ticket, unfortunately, we can’t look it up or track it down for you.
- Claim your prize before your ticket expires.
- Every ticket has an expiration date. Usually, you have 60 days to claim a Scratch-Off prize after the game has ended, and you have 180 days after the draw date for a Draw Game. Learn about payment options.
- Validate your ticket using a self-check scanner at any retailer.
- This can help you by giving you more time to claim your prize.
Where to Claim Your Prize
- Prizes of $599 or less
- May be claimed at any authorized retailer, Florida Lottery District Office, or Florida Lottery Headquarters.
- Prizes of $600-$250,000
- May be claimed at any Florida Lottery District Office or Florida Lottery Headquarters.
- Prizes greater than $250,000
- Must be claimed at Florida Lottery Headquarters, with the exception of MEGA MILLIONS® and POWERBALL® prizes of $600-$1,000,000 which may be claimed at any Florida Lottery District Office or at Florida Lottery Headquarters.
All Florida MEGA MILLIONS®, POWERBALL®, CASH4LIFE®, and Fast Play™ prizes must be claimed in Florida.
If you’re not in the mood for a road trip, you can also claim your winnings by mail. Winning tickets valued up to $250,000 can be claimed by mail, as well as winning MEGA MILLIONS® or POWERBALL® tickets valued up to $1,000,000! Just mail your ticket to the Florida Lottery along with the required documentation.
We accept winning tickets and fan-mail at the following address:Florida Lottery
250 Marriott Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32399-9939
Mark Your Calendars
The envelope in which a ticket is mailed must be postmarked:
- On or before the 60th day after the official end of a Scratch-Off or Fast Play™ game.
- Before the 180th day after the winning drawing for a Draw game ticket.
U.S. Postal Service regulations include various restrictions on mailing Lottery tickets. The risk of mailing tickets remains with the player and will not be assumed by the Florida Lottery.
Documents Needed to Claim a Prize
To claim a prize of $600 or more, you will need the following documentation:
- Florida Lottery Winner Claim Form
For prizes greater than $50,000, or a prize for which there is a lump sum option.
Some form of identification that is current or was issued within the past five years and bears a serial number or other identifying number. Acceptable forms include:
- An identification card or driver's license issued by a public agency authorized to issue driver's licenses in Florida, a state other than Florida, a territory of the U.S., or Canada, or Mexico.
- A passport issued by the U.S. Department of State.
- A passport issued by a foreign government for non-annual payment option prizes & prizes that do not require a notarized affidavit.
- A passport issued by a foreign government stamped by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services for annual payment option prizes or for prizes that require a notarized affidavit.
- An identification card issued by any branch of the U.S. armed forces.
- An identification card issued by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- Another form of identification authorized for use by notaries public in Section 117.05(5)(b)2., Florida statutes.
Bank Authorization Form
A bank authorization form is generated each quarter for players who have already claimed their prizes and have chosen the annual payments.
Privacy Act Notice
Under the Federal Privacy Act, disclosure of a person's Social Security number is voluntary unless a Federal statute specifically requires such disclosure or allows states to collect the number. For claimants of Florida Lottery prizes valued at $600 or more, disclosure is required by 26 U.S.C. s. 3402 and 26 U.S.C. s. 6109 for tax withholding and reporting purposes. Social Security numbers will also be used to determine whether a claimant owes an outstanding debt to a state agency or child support collected through a court, pursuant to Section 24.115, Florida Statutes.
Pick a payment plan.
Once a payout option has been selected, it’s final.
You can choose from two different payment plan options, each with their own unique benefits. Allow us to explain because once a payout option has been selected, it’s final. Consulting a team of advisors may help you make this decision confidently.
- Annual Payments
Winners may choose to receive their winnings in annual payments. The number of annual payments varies by game.
Jackpot prizes from FLORIDA LOTTO®, MEGA MILLIONS®, and POWERBALL® are paid in 30 annual installments. Grand Prizes and Second Prizes from CASH4LIFE® are paid for the natural life of the winner. Certain Scratch-Off games may also be paid in annual installments in accordance with the rules for that game.
- Cash Option
The cash option is a one-time, lump-sum payment that winners may choose to receive instead of receiving their winnings in annual payments. The cash option amount varies by game and value of the prize.
If the winner does not elect the cash option within the 60-day cash option election period, the prize will be paid in annual payments.
Applicable Federal income tax withholding will be deducted at the time payments are made for both cash option payments and annual payments alike.
You have options. Be aware that the time period for claiming prizes differs based on the type of game you play, and the payout option you select. Any games that offer a choice of payment (Annual Payment or Cash Option) have a 60-day cash option election period.
- For Scratch-Off games & Fast Play™ games:
The time period to claim your prize is within 60 days after the end of the game.
- For draw games:
- Your prize must be claimed within 180 days after the draw date.
Important Information About Your Prize Money
Account for taxes.
Appropriate federal income taxes will be withheld regardless of which payment method you choose.
- If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien with a social security number the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires the Florida Lottery to withhold 24% federal withholding tax on prizes more than $5,000.
- There may be additional tax liability depending on a winner’s financial situation. Please consult a professional tax advisor or the IRS for assistance in determining your tax liability or for additional information regarding taxes.
The Internal Revenue Service requires the Florida Lottery to report all winnings of $600 and above for U.S. citizens and resident aliens.
Winning responsibly is all about being informed. Federal tax rates are subject to change.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
If you submit a valid claim for a prize of $600 or more, we will systematically check for any outstanding state-owed debt with agencies like:
- Department of Revenue (e.g Child Support)
- Department of Children and Families (e.g Food Stamps, Medicaid, and Public Assistance)
- Department of Economic Opportunity (e.g Overpayment of Reemployment Assistance)
- Department of Education (e.g Student Loans)
- University of Florida (e.g Student related debts)
Florida Statutes 24.115(4) stipulates for multiple agencies owed, Department of Revenue is to be paid first. If a balance remains after the Department of Revenue payment, other agencies with State Owed Debts are paid pro-rata, based upon the ratio of the individual debt to the remaining debt owed to the state.
Managing Your Winnings
There are different ways to manage your winnings.
We understand that some prefer researching and managing their finances on their own, and others prefer to build a team of advisors to provide them with sound financial advice. Whichever route you take, know that you are in control of your money. Hiring a financial planner doesn’t mean you’re uninvolved in managing your money.
Here is a list of organizations that can assist you in building an advisory team:
Florida State Bar
Organization of all lawyers licensed by the Supreme Court of Florida to practice law in the state.
The Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Association of all Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) certified in the state.
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
Association of fee-only financial advisors located across the United States.
The Financial Planning Association
Organization of certified financial planner professionals and financial service providers.
Protect your prize.
You won a big prize and you completed all the necessary paperwork, so it should be smooth sailing from here, right? Well, unfortunately, this may be the time someone attempts to take advantage of you.
Don’t get scammed.
Scammers and predators are out there. If you feel like you have been compromised or taken advantage of, there are people and organizations to help. Here are some places to start:
- Report any attempted scam to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357.
- Notify the FBI by filing a complaint on their website.
- Contact your financial institution immediately if you suspect you might have entered any financial information on a phishing site and change your passwords on any impacted accounts.
- Visit the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) website to learn more about how to protect yourself in the future.
Keep your money safe.
Here are some tips and tricks to keep your money safe and give you some financial peace of mind.
- The Florida Lottery will NEVER ask you for money to process your winning ticket.
- Don’t ever give money to someone who promises that it has anything to do with receiving your winnings.
- Never give out your personal information.
- Never give out your personal information, such as bank account number, social security number, or date of birth unless you are positive it is a reputable, verified organization. And even then, be sure to double-check.
- Beware of checks sent with the request to wire or transfer money.
- Never deposit any check sent to you that is accompanied by a request that you send or wire money to cover processing or claiming fees.
- Keep your personal documents safe.
- Always keep your personal financial and winning documents in a safe and secure location.
- Always think twice.
- If it sounds suspicious, it probably is. Don’t ever be afraid to get a second opinion or double check the authenticity of something.
We don’t keep secrets.
We are proud of our winners and we want to show you off! We will highlight your success story and winning experience in a press release. We’ll also give you a photo op with a giant check with your winning amount on the front.
We know that some people don’t want to brag about their winnings, and we get that. But Florida law mandates that the Florida Lottery allow access to certain governmental records for public disclosure purposes.
If you are a winner the following are all matters of public record and subject to disclosure:
- Full name
- City of residence
- Game won
- Date won
- Amount won
- Name and location of the retailer where the winning ticket was purchased