How to Claim Mega Millions Winnings
This page will tell you all you need to know about how to claim Mega Millions prizes. One of the most important rules to remember is that if you buy your tickets from a licensed retailer, you can only claim your winnings from the same state you bought your entry in. However, you do not have to be a resident of that state to be eligible for a Mega Millions prize - nor do you even need to be a U.S. citizen.
Take a look at the rules below to find out how to claim Mega Millions prizes, including the jackpot, in all the different participating states, as well as online.
What to do With a Winning Ticket
If you choose your Mega Millions numbers online, you'll be automatically notified of any win – and your winnings will be paid directly into your account.
If you play via a retailer, make sure to sign the back of your ticket. Whether you win the jackpot or a smaller prize, it will help to prove the ticket belongs to you in the event that you lose it or someone else attempts to claim your winnings. It’s also a good idea to store any winning tickets in a safe place, until you’re ready to come forward and claim.
The method for claiming a prize can vary from state to state and will depend on how much you have won. The following is a general guide to how to claim prizes, but be sure to check the rules in your state before attempting to claim. You can find out more by selecting your state on the Participating States page.
If you win a prize of under $600, you should be able to claim your winnings from a licensed retailer in the state where you bought your ticket. Certain stores, though, may have a policy against paying out certain sizes of lottery prize, or may not carry enough cash to fulfil your request. In the event of a store not being able to pay out, you could take your ticket to another store, visit your local lottery office, or post your ticket to your state lottery in order to claim your winnings by mail.
If you do intend to mail your ticket to your state lottery office, you must send it out with a prize claim form and proof of identity – subject to the rules set by your state lottery.
You can claim prizes of $600 and above from one of your state lottery’s offices or claim centers. It may also be possible to claim your prize by mail, but you should check with your local office first.
If you win the Mega Millions jackpot, you will need to claim your prize in person from the headquarters of your state lottery. It is unlikely that you will be able to claim a jackpot by mail, as thorough validation checks will need to be completed before the prize money is paid out.
Mega Millions Claims Period
Tickets remain valid for different lengths of time, depending on where the ticket was bought. If you're not sure how long you have to redeem your Mega Millions ticket, the following table tells you how long you have to pick up your prize:
|New Mexico||90 days|
|New Hampshire||1 Year|
|New Jersey||1 Year|
|New Mexico||90 days|
|New York||1 Year|
|North Carolina||180 days|
|North Dakota||180 days|
|Rhode Island||1 Year|
|South Dakota||180 days|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||6 months|
|Washington State||180 days|
|Washington D.C.||180 days|
|West Virginia||180 days|
- *California players have one year to collect a jackpot prize, but only 180 days to claim a non-jackpot prize.
When you do come forward to claim your lottery winnings, you may have to disclose your identity to the public. Anonymity laws in your state may either allow you to remain anonymous or prevent you from concealing your identity.
Take a look at the table below to find out which states offer anonymity to Mega Millions players, and under what conditions:
|States That Allow Anonymity||Who Is Eligible for Anonymity|
|Arizona||Players who have won $100,000 or more|
|Georgia||Players who have won $250,000 or more|
|North Dakota||All players|
|South Carolina||All players|
|Virginia||Winners of $10 million or more|
|West Virginia||Winners of $1 million or more; must donate 5% of winnings to the State Lottery Fund to qualify|
Some states, though they do not allow outright player anonymity, may allow you to form a trust or LLC through which to collect your winnings. This can protect your identity, though to what extent depends on the laws in your state. Consult a legal advisor to find out if such an option is available to you.