10 Biggest Lottery Prize Claim Mistakes

Tuesday July 21st 2020

Here are the most common errors lottery winners make when they claim a prize. Mistakes will definitely delay your prize payment, so don't let these "claim fails" happen to you!

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How to claim a lottery prize during coronavirus

Many lottery offices are still closed due to the spread of coronavirus, so winners can't have their documents checked in person at a claim center.

The most common way to claim a prize while staying at home is through the mail - so make sure your claim is completed correctly before you send it.

First, sign the back of your winning ticket and fill out any required information, such as your address and phone number. Store your ticket in a safe place until you're ready to claim.

It's also a good idea to make a copy or take a photo of the front and back of your ticket. Keep these copies for your records.

To claim by mail, you will need to send the original ticket to the lottery. In addition, most states require a claim form and proof of identity for prizes of $600 and above:

  • Winner claim form: download a form for your state
  • Valid government-issued photo identification (such as driver's license or passport)
  • Document verifying winner's Social Security Number

Send the original signed ticket and claim form, and copies of your ID and SSN documents. For more details and each lottery's mailing address, see the link below.

Make sure you include your return address on the envelope and use a trackable form of mailing, such as certified or registered, and obtain proof of sending for peace of mind.

For more information on changes lotteries have made in response to Covid-19 and current prize claim options, visit the Coronavirus Lottery Updates page.

Top 10 lottery prize claim errors

Avoid the frequently-made mistakes below so you can successfully claim your prize. Check the link above for full details of what is required to claim in your state.

Didn't complete back of ticket

The lottery asks for certain information on the back of the winning ticket, usually name (printed and signed), address and phone number. These details are used to show that you are the owner of the winning ticket.

Do not leave the ticket blank - otherwise, anyone in possession of the ticket can claim the prize.

Make sure that your name on the back of the ticket is identical to your name on the claim form and on your identification.

Didn't provide last name

Provide your full name, including multiple or hyphenated surnames. The winner's name on the claim form, winning ticket, photo ID and SSN document must be exactly the same as it appears on official Internal Revenue Service tax documents.

Indicate if you wish to claim via a company, trust, partnership, or similar entity; the lottery will request additional documents if necessary.

Didn't include ID

Most lotteries require winners of $600 or more to send a copy of a valid, current government-issued photo identification, such as driver’s license, military or state ID, or passport.

ID must include a photo of the winner their date of birth.

The name on the photo ID and on the document verifying Social Security Number must match exactly (first, middle, and last name, suffix such as Jr., and so on.

Didn't fill out claim form

Most lotteries require a completed winner claim form for tickets worth $600 or more. Download a claim form for your state.

Left claim form unsigned

Make sure to sign and date the claim form - if you forget, it will result in delays processing your claim.

Left out Social Security Number

Remember to include your SSN on the claim form - otherwise there will be processing delays. Find your SSN on your Social Security card of tax documents.

Omitted type of claim

Select the kind of prize claim you are making. If you're an individual claiming on behalf of a group that has won a prize, you will need to fill out an IRS 5754 form and include details of all winners and the amount of money each person will receive.

Any players who have won $600 or more will also need to fill out and send a W9 form and a copy of their identification to the lottery.

Forgot email address

The lottery uses your email address to contact you when your claim has been processed and your check has been sent. The lottery will not make your email address public.

Missing phone number

Include a valid phone number on both the back of the winning ticket and the claim form. The lottery will call you if there are any problems with processing your claim. Your phone number is only used in relation to processing your claim, and will never be made public.

Unclear citizenship status

Ensure you specify your citizenship status on the claim form to avoid processing delays.

Get lottery prizes paid automatically

Would you like to play your favorite games like Powerball and Mega Millions without the hassle and long waits of filing a prize claim? Playing the lottery online is secure, you can stay at home, and any wins will be paid automatically into your account!

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