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How do I withdraw money from my VA lottery ticket?

Winning the lottery can be an exciting experience, but collecting your prize money involves navigating some important steps. If you purchased a Virginia Lottery ticket and want to withdraw your winnings, there are a few key things you’ll need to do. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through the entire process step-by-step, from signing your winning ticket and selecting a payment option to actually receiving your lottery payout. We’ll also provide tips and advice to help make sure the withdrawal process goes smoothly. Whether you won a few hundred dollars on a scratcher or hit the jackpot for millions, this guide has everything you need to successfully collect your Virginia Lottery prize money.

Signing Your Winning Ticket

The first step in claiming your lottery prize is to sign your winning ticket. This proves you are the rightful owner of the ticket and are entitled to collect the winnings. Be sure to sign your name in ink exactly how it appears on the ticket. Do not use pencil. Double check that your signature matches the name printed on the ticket. If there is a discrepancy, this could delay payment of your prize while the situation is investigated. Once signed, make a few photocopies of both sides of the ticket so you have records of it. Keep the original ticket in a very safe place until you are ready to claim your prize. Never give the original ticket to anyone else to hold onto. As the winner, you are solely responsible for the ticket at all times.

Purchasing Tickets Under a Trust

If you purchased your winning Virginia Lottery ticket under a trust rather than in your personal name, there are a few extra steps involved. First, make sure the name of the trust was properly recorded when purchasing the ticket. You will need to provide a copy of the trust agreement or documentation proving you are the rightful trustee. All beneficiaries of the trust must also sign the back of the ticket. The Virginia Lottery will need to verify all required information before releasing funds to a trust. Work closely with lottery officials to ensure a smooth payment process.

Choosing a Payment Method

Once you have a signed winning ticket, the next step is deciding how you want to receive your prize money. The Virginia Lottery offers two payment options:

Lump Sum

Choosing the lump-sum option means you will receive your entire lottery payout all at once in a single payment. The amount is the prize’s cash value, which is typically around half of the advertised jackpot. Taxes are immediately withheld from the lump sum based on federal and state requirements. You will receive a check for the remaining amount. This provides quick access to your winnings, but it also comes with important financial considerations. Make sure you are prepared to responsibly manage a large lump-sum payment.


Selecting the annuity option allows you to receive your lottery prize in annual installments over many years. For major jackpots, payments are generally spread over 30 years. Each payment amount is determined by dividing the overall prize by the number of payments. Taxes are withheld annually as you receive each installment. Annuity payments provide more time to plan your spending and seek professional financial advice. If you pass away before all payments are received, the remaining funds go to your designated beneficiary.

Consider your individual needs and preferences when deciding between lump sum and annuity. You will make your official payment selection when completing the claim form.

Filling Out a Claim Form

To collect your Virginia Lottery winnings, you must complete an official claim form and submit it along with your signed ticket. Depending on the prize amount, there are two types of claim forms:

Prizes Under $600

For wins less than $600, you can fill out a Virginia Lottery Prize Claim Form available at local lottery retailers. Most stores that sell lottery tickets have a supply on hand. The claim form requires your personal information, address, phone number, Social Security number, and federal tax information. You must also indicate whether you want a check or direct deposit for your winnings. Once completed, submit the claim form and your signed ticket to the retailer to process your claim. It takes approximately 10 business days to receive your prize money.

Prizes $600 and Over

Winning lottery tickets worth $600 or more require extra verification from Virginia Lottery officials. For these larger prizes, do not take your ticket to a local retailer. Instead, download the Major Prize Claim Form directly from the Virginia Lottery website. This comprehensive form will collect all required personal details, tax information, and payment selection. You must submit the Major Prize Claim Form and original winning ticket by mail or in person to the Virginia Lottery headquarters in Richmond for processing. Allow several weeks for verification procedures and background checks before disbursement of your lottery winnings.

Summary of Claim Form Guidelines

Prize Amount Claim Form Used Submission Method Processing Time
Under $600 Virginia Lottery Prize Claim Form Give to local retailer 10 business days
$600 or more Virginia Lottery Major Prize Claim Form Mail/deliver to Lottery HQ Several weeks

Collecting Your Prize Money

Once your winning ticket and claim form have been processed and verified, it’s time to collect your lottery payout! Here is an overview of what to expect:

Receiving a Check

If you selected the lump-sum payment option and requested a check, your prize winnings will be mailed to the address listed on your claim form. The Virginia Lottery uses certified mail with tracking for all checks. Make sure you provide an updated, secure mailing address where you can personally receive mail. When the check arrives, you can cash or deposit it into your bank account right away. Just be aware of hold periods that may apply for very large checks.

Direct Deposit

Choosing direct deposit allows your lottery winnings to be deposited electronically into your designated bank account. On the claim form, you will need to provide your account information, including routing and account numbers. Once processed, the prize money will be transferred to your account, typically within one business day after electronic funds become available to the Lottery. Direct deposit provides fast access to your payout and avoids potential mail delays.

Annuity Payments

If you selected the annuity payment option, your lottery winnings will be paid out annually over many years. Annuities are managed by a third-party with expertise in long-term financial vehicles and structured payments. Your winnings are securely invested, and payment amounts are determined at the time the annuity contract is established. Taxes and other withholdings will be deducted from each check before payment is issued. Stay in contact with the annuity company regarding payment schedules, taxes, beneficiaries, and any other questions about your lottery prize annuity.

Tax Implications on Winning the Lottery

Along with your prize money, a major aspect of claiming lottery winnings is paying required taxes. As a Virginia Lottery winner, here are some key tax rules to keep in mind:

Federal Taxes

For lottery prizes over $5,000, the IRS automatically takes 24% off your winnings right away for federal tax withholding. This applies whether you choose the lump-sum or annuity options. If your prize is over $5,000, an additional amount is withheld based on the top federal income tax rate of 37%. State taxes may also be withheld immediately, depending on the size of your payout.

Tax Liability

The taxes withheld from your prize money when you first claim it may not cover your full federal and state tax liability for the year. Make sure you consider your lottery winnings when filing your annual income tax returns. You are required to report lottery winnings as taxable income. If not enough tax was withheld initially, you could owe additional amounts to the IRS and Virginia Department of Taxation at tax time.

Tax Planning Assistance

Given the important tax implications, it is highly recommended to consult a tax professional to help plan for owed taxes on your lottery winnings. An accountant or financial advisor can assist with tax reporting requirements and developing an effective tax strategy for your situation. Proper tax planning can help maximize and protect your lottery earnings over time.

Getting Financial Advice

Winning a major lottery prize can quickly change your financial situation. Getting professional assistance with managing your money responsibly is strongly advised. Here are some recommendations:

Wealth Management Firm

Partnering with an experienced wealth management firm provides customized guidance based on your specific needs and goals. Reputable firms have experts from tax accounting, investment management, banking, law, and other disciplines to help lottery winners successfully handle large sums of money. They can assist with tax planning, investments, budgeting, protecting your privacy, setting up trusts, and more. Take time to carefully choose a qualified firm you feel comfortable with.

Financial Advisor

A personal financial advisor provides ongoing money management assistance tailored to your unique circumstances. They can help analyze your cash flow, set a prudent investment allocation, guide major purchase decisions, minimize taxes, and develop a smart lifetime spending plan. Look for an accredited, licensed advisor with expertise in financial strategies for lottery winners and sudden wealth.

Money Manager

A money manager oversees your finances by consolidating account management and directly handling bills, payments, taxes, budgets, investments, and cash flow. This full-service approach provides maximum support but less direct control over your money. Thoroughly vet any money manager before turning over financial responsibilities.

Avoiding Common Lottery Scams

Unfortunately, lottery winners often attract scammers trying to steal their prize money. Here are some tips to identify and avoid common lottery scams:

Unexpected Calls

Be wary of any unsolicited calls claiming you won a lottery prize, especially if you have not entered a legitimate lottery or bought tickets. Scammers obtain names and numbers randomly to cold call potential victims. Do not provide any personal or financial details if receive a suspicious lottery-related call.

Upfront Fees

Avoid any person or company that asks for upfront fees in order to collect supposed lottery winnings. This is a telltale sign of a scam. Legitimate lotteries never require fees upfront in order to receive your rightful prize money.

Rushing You

Scammers typically try to rush victims into completing supposedly urgent paperwork or wire transfers to claim fictitious lottery prizes. Slow down and take time to verify the validity of any major lottery payout you supposedly won. Resist pressure to make quick financial decisions.

Changing Payment Method

Refuse any demand to send winnings by hard-to-trace methods like wire transfer, prepaid card, or cash reload. This is a key indicator of fraud. Legit lotteries directly pay winners with checks, annuities, or electronic deposits into your own established bank account.

Evidence of All Contact

Keep records of all communications with individuals claiming you won a major lottery prize, including phone calls, emails, letters, and website domains. This provides evidence if needed to report a scam attempt to authorities.


Winning the lottery can be life-changing, but collecting your prize money involves important steps and considerations. Follow the guide provided in this article to successfully withdraw your Virginia Lottery winnings. Be sure to sign your ticket immediately for proof of ownership, choose between lump-sum or annuity payments, complete the proper claim form, and collect your prize wisely. Tax obligations must be handled appropriately as well. Most importantly, get professional financial and tax assistance to responsibly manage your lottery earnings. Avoid falling victim to lottery scams by being cautious with all unsolicited contacts related to prize winnings. Follow these tips to safely claim your rightful Virginia Lottery winnings and leverage your sudden wealth into long-term financial security.