how long to claim mega millions prize

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 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.

Time until draw:

Mega Millions Claims Period

Tickets remain valid for different lengths of time, depending on where the ticket was bought. The following table tells you how long you have to pick up your prize:

State Claim Periods for Mega Millions Payouts

State Claim Period
New Mexico 90 days
Arizona 180 days
Arkansas 180 days
California* 1 Year
Colorado 180 days
Connecticut 180 days
Delaware 1 Year
Florida 180 days
Georgia 180 days
Idaho 180 days
Illinois 1 Year
Indiana 180 days
Iowa 1 Year
Kansas 1 Year
Kentucky 180 days
Louisiana 180 days
Maine 1 Year
Maryland 182 days
Massachusetts 1 Year
Michigan 1 Year
Minnesota 1 Year
Mississippi 180 days
Missouri 180 days
Montana 180 days
Nebraska 180 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
Ohio 180 days
Oklahoma 180 days
Oregon 1 Year
Pennsylvania 1 Year
Rhode Island 1 Year
South Dakota 180 days
Tennessee 180 days
Texas 180 days
U.S. Virgin Islands 6 months
Vermont 1 Year
Virginia 180 days
Washington State 180 days
Washington D.C. 180 days
West Virginia 180 days
Wisconsin 180 days
Wyoming 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
Delaware All players
Georgia Players who have won $250,000 or more
Kansas All players
Maryland All players
Mississippi All players
North Dakota All players
Ohio All players
South Carolina All players
Texas 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
Wyoming All players

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.

If you are a Mega Millions winner find out the claims process for your state, includes how to claim prizes if you played online or in-store and details of ticket expiry dates.

How to Claim

Congratulations on winning a Mega Millions prize. If you’re wondering what to do next, this page will help to inform you on how to claim a prize, whether your ticket was purchased online or at a local retailer.

How to Claim a Prize Online

If you purchased your ticket online, you will be notified of your win via email and your winnings are paid directly into your player account.

How to Claim a Prize from an Authorized Retailer

If you purchased your ticket from a retailer, where you claim your winnings depends on the amount that you have won. For detailed information on where to claim your prize for each jurisdiction, visit the dedicated page.

$599 and Under

Prizes less than $600 can be claimed at an authorized retailer, district office or claim center.

$600 and over

Prizes of $600 or more must be claimed at a district office, claim center or lottery headquarters.

Jackpot Winners

Mega Millions jackpot winners are encouraged to contact the lottery headquarters for their jurisdiction. Players can decide to take a one-off lump sum cash payment or accept an annuity (30 payments over 29 years).

Please note that the information may vary depending on the state in which you played. Please check with your state lottery before claiming. In addition, winning tickets can only be claimed in the state where they were purchased.

Unclaimed Prizes

A Mega Millions prize must be claimed between 180 days and one year from the date of draw (varies by state). In the US, if a prize is not claimed, some unclaimed funds are returned to the lottery fund, whilst other funds are given back to the community, helping to benefit areas such as public education.

It is important to note that you cannot win a Mega Millions prize for a draw that you have not entered. If you have received correspondence notifying you that you have won a prize and have not entered a draw, you may be the victim of a scam. Visit the dedicated ‘Scams’ page to find out more.

Think you’re a winner? Double check at the Mega Millions Numbers page.

Material Copyright © 2020

Players must be 18 or over to participate in online lotteries.

Are you a Mega Millions winner? Find out how to claim a prize if you’ve won online or at a local retailer.