Great news! You’ve won! You’ll now have time to think about how you are going receive your money (lump sum or annuity) and how you are going to spend it. How much time do you have to think?
Once you have signed your prize ticket and either mailed your claim or taken it in person to the correct prize office (there can be more than one depending on the size of the winnings), there can be a waiting period before you are paid out (either as a lump sum or annuity).
Prize payment protocols differ from state to state. This is no difference as to when you actually receive the money. In Maryland, prize payouts can occur in as little as 10 business days (two weeks) after you make your claim, whereas in California, the lag between the claim and payout can be in excess of 6 weeks.
Why the Wait?
There are the simple logistics of collecting the ticket sales cash from those participating stores nationwide. This can take as many as two weeks.
Not all computer systems are created equal. In fact, there isn’t one centralized computer system that controls each of the state’s sweepstakes. The computer systems that regulate and make the sales vary from state to state.
Different Key Strokes
States choose from different platforms and service providers. So when it comes time to collect the jackpot, especially in instances of national sweepstakes, it can take a little extra time to get it from one state to another.
Additionally, each state is its own entity. This means that different states are not all on one system. It is helpful for tracking and paying smaller winners but when it comes time to cash out larger, multi-state jackpots it can create a little bit of a delay.
The state will also validate the winner and then perform a background check to determine whether the winner currently owes the state any money (like unpaid property taxes, water bills, speeding tickets, back taxes, etc.). If the winner owes any money, the winnings will be put toward that before the winner receives his/her check.
It is good to note that states have differing rules as to the amount of time you can wait to claim your prize. Most states allow anywhere from 90-365 days to collect a prize. This can be extremely helpful if your prize is a large one and need the time to set up your financial plan ahead of receiving your prize payment.