You won the Powerball – what’s next? A guide to claiming your payout
Winning the lottery is a common fantasy for Americans of all shapes & sizes, and there is no game more revered than the holy grail, Powerball. Millions of Americans fill out Powerball cards each week, clinging on to the hope that one day their numbers will appear on the little ping pong balls on their TV at home.
Americans may spend years with dreams of Powerball wins filling their heads. They’ll speculate on what they would do if they won, what they would buy, and what problems would disintegrate into dust if they could only have their numbers match the Powerball draw.
With a Powerball win, debt could be gone, bills could be paid, and life could go on in a more meaningful way, without the tumultuous struggles of finance weighing us down. However, the lottery fantasy usually has a gap between winning & spending all your riches. What happens during that gap and what the heck do you do if you are lucky enough to hold a winning Powerball ticket? How do you get your Powerball payout?
The first order of business is obvious: protect your ticket with your life if you want your Powerball payout. Millennials no doubt remember the Kenan & Kel episode when the titular duo took their win too lightly and lost their winning ticket.
There’s not much you can do if you lose your winning Powerball ticket, but you should at least sign the back of the ticket as soon as you know you won.
Per The Balance, the only thing you need when you claim your Powerball payout is your signed ticket and ID that matches the name on the back. That means if it’s lost or stolen, at the very least the person claiming to cash your Powerball payout (how dare they), will have a little hurdle to jump in pretending to be the owner.
Time is of the essence
Like everything else, your Powerball payout has a time limit. As soon as you have the win in your hands, read all the tiny fine print you have at your disposal (and there’s a lot).
Find out when the deadline is to cash your Powerball payout and make sure you get to the proper people in time. Better yet, see the proper lottery officials as soon as you can; this isn’t something you want to put off until tomorrow.
So who do you see to cash in your Powerball payout? The Powerball official website has a frustratingly short list of instructions for how to claim your prize, but it does provide a little info on who to see.
If the win is $600 or under, Powerball says you can get your Powerball payout at “any licensed lottery retailer in the jurisdiction where [you] bought the ticket”. This likely means that you can pick up your prize at the same spot where you bought your ticket.
What about if you are one of the really lucky ones and you won over $600 playing Powerball?
The first step is to call your local lottery headquarters, and see what they need. You’ll likely need your ID & some related documents along with your winning ticket. The next step is to pack it up, head to the local lottery HQ and claim your Powerball payout.
Loose lips sink ships
The final thing to take to heart if you win the Powerball: keep it to yourself. Until you get that cash in hand, your ticket is anybody’s to claim, especially if you haven’t signed the back yet.
Make sure you act alone when you claim your prize, or you could find out the hard way that someone needs your prize money more than you. If you won and have followed our guide to get your Powerball payout successfully, there’s only one thing left to do: celebrate!