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RSL-500 (02-16) Winners Handbook

    Britton Patterson 4 years ago Views:

1 RSL-500 (02-16) Winners Handbook

2 Table of Contents: Congratulations! How to claim a major prize Sign your lottery ticket Group claims When and how you will get your money Sharing Your Story How can I tell my story? Must I tell my story? Can I form a trust to remain anonymous? What should I do if I am contacted by the news media? Taxes and Financial Issues What will I have to pay in taxes? Will Lottery withhold additional funds from my check? How can I protect my new wealth? What should I do if I am contacted by investment or financial advisers? Annuity Information Should I take the cash or annuity prize? I selected the annuity option but changed my mind – can the Lottery give me a lump-sum payment instead? What happens if I die before I receive all of my annuity payments? How do I update my beneficiary information or address? Protecting Your Security & Avoiding Scams Contact Information

3 Congratulations! Thank you for playing the Pennsylvania Lottery, which benefits older Pennsylvanians every day! This guide is designed to answer questions you may have about claiming your Lottery prize, when you ll receive payment, sharing your winning experience and protecting your security in the future. How to Claim a Major Prize If you ve won a multi-state game jackpot or top prize, your prize claim must be made in-person at Lottery headquarters in Middletown, Dauphin County. Also, claims for annuity top prizes for instant games must be made at Lottery headquarters. When making a claim, you must present the winning ticket as well as a legal form of photo identification, like a drivers license or passport. The Pennsylvania Lottery encourages each top prize or jackpot winner to hire a trustworthy financial adviser and seek legal counsel. Then, when you are ready to file your major prize claim, call to speak with a Lottery representative for additional instructions. For instructions on how to claim other prizes, visit palottery.com and read How to Claim Your Prize. Many prizes may be claimed at the retail level, by visiting a Lottery area office or by submitting a prize claim by mail. Sign Your Lottery Ticket Signing your ticket is the best protection all lottery players can give themselves because it proves ownership of the ticket. Each lottery ticket is a bearer document, which means it is legally owned by the person possessing it, at least until it is signed. That s why it is important for you to write your name, address, phone number and signature on the back of the ticket. In fact, it is a good idea to complete the back of each ticket you buy, even before you know if it s a winner. Take care not to expose the ticket to water, extreme heat or light, which could damage the ticket and make it illegible and invalid. Pennsylvania Lottery winners have one year from the drawing date for numbers or jackpot games, and one year from the end-sale date for instant games, to claim prizes. Group Claims If you are claiming a prize as a group, decide which member of the group will sign the ticket. If your group is getting a single check, the person who signs the ticket will be the claimant of record. If you are getting separate checks, the person signing should be the spokesperson or contact for the group. The Pennsylvania Lottery allows winners to split any cash prize more than $600. For more information about group claims, please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask for the Claims Department. Annuity top prizes for instant games cannot be shared. The names of all members of a group may be made public under Pennsylvania s Right-to-Know Law. When and How You Will Get Your Money It typically takes four to six weeks to process a prize claim once it has been received at Lottery headquarters. Processing time can be affected by a number of factors, so please be patient we know you are anxious to receive your prize. The state Treasury Department will issue a check for the amount of your winnings, less 25 percent federal withholding* if your prize is over $5,000. Winners checks are sent via mail, or winners may make arrangements to pick up checks at Lottery headquarters or area offices. The Pennsylvania Lottery does not offer direct deposit. An annuity prize winner from an instant game may be able to receive future payments via direct deposit from the company selected to provide the annuity. If you would like to know the status of your prize claim, please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask for the Claims Department. *Note: withholding rate is as of the time of publication and may vary 2

4 Sharing Your Story The PA Lottery gives winners a chance to share their unique winner experiences with the public. Telling winners stories is important to players who want to see the winners of the games they play, and it is key to keeping Lottery s integrity. Am I obligated to tell my story? While you are not obligated to do a check presentation or allow the Lottery to share your story on its website, certain winner information may be released publicly under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law and Lottery policy. This information includes: Name of the winner(s) City and county of residence Name of game won Date of win Prize amount We often encourage top prize or jackpot winners, especially for multi-state games, to participate in special events or news conferences coordinated by our public relations office. By holding a news conference, the Lottery is able to satisfy media interest in a controlled environment and a relatively short time period generally, less than an hour so you can enjoy your 15 minutes of fame. That said, we want to help our winners maintain their privacy, and we will never reveal a winner s address, phone number or Social Security number. How can I tell my story? 1. A check presentation is one option for winners. The PA Lottery can organize an event, invite local media and present a ceremonial check to the winner. Participating television stations and newspapers may take photos and videos and will ask questions. The resulting news stories will highlight your win to the local community. 2. Telling your story on the Lottery website is another option. A Lottery representative will ask you questions and write a brief article based on your winning experience. A ceremonial check will be presented to you and a still photograph will be taken of you with your written consent. This picture and story will be posted directly on Lottery’s website and social media outlets. Your image may also appear on the digital screens seen at each PA Lottery retailer. 3. The Lottery also works with winners who wish to tell their winning experience through our video channel. Video stories may be shown on our YouTube channel, website and social media sites. Can I form a trust to remain anonymous when I claim my prize? No. If you choose to claim your Lottery prize in the name of a legal entity, such as a trust, the Pennsylvania Lottery will release the name of the entity and other relevant information, including the entity s beneficiaries, partners or shareholders. What do I do if I am contacted by the news media? First of all, the Lottery cannot verify a winning ticket until it has been received at headquarters and all appropriate security checks have been executed. Therefore, we discourage winners from contacting media before a ticket has been validated. Second, it s important to understand that media interest in finding out more about Lottery winners is typically driven by public interest. Declining participation in a Lottery news conference does not necessarily mean you will avoid media attention, and you may still be contacted by a newspaper or television reporter. If you have questions about dealing with the news media, please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask to speak with our Press Office. 3

5 Taxes and Financial Issues What will I have to pay in taxes? Under law, Lottery prizes over $5,000 are subject to tax withholding (meaning the Lottery will withhold the minimum amount of applicable taxes before paying the prize). For all prizes of $600 or more, winners will receive a W-2G form from the Lottery to report their winnings when filing their taxes. These forms usually arrive by mail in late January or early February for prizes awarded in the previous calendar year. For questions, contact our Claims Department. A winner s total tax liability on Lottery prizes depends on income, deductions, exemptions and other factors, so please consult a qualified tax professional when preparing your tax returns. The Lottery cannot provide tax advice to prize claimants. Will the Lottery withhold additional funds from my check? Before paying a prize, the Pennsylvania Lottery checks with the state Department of Human Services to determine if a Lottery claimant owes delinquent child support payments. Any overdue child support payments will be deducted from winnings before a prize is paid. If any other court-ordered payments are owed by a claimant, those may also be deducted. How can I protect my new wealth? While winning a large prize is very exciting, it can also be accompanied by an array of questions, decisions and concerns. The best advice the Lottery can offer is to encourage you to speak with trustworthy professionals who are trained to offer counsel on such matters. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your winnings are protected: Speak with a financial adviser. Hire an attorney. Understand smart investing. What do I do if I am contacted by investment or financial advisers? The Pennsylvania Lottery occasionally will provide winner information to financial companies if such information is requested by these firms under Pennsylvania s Right-to-Know Law. However, we do not endorse or certify financial advisers nor do we ask them to contact you. Most people who are paid to give investment advice must meet certain competency requirements and register with the state. Call the Pennsylvania Securities Commission at to find out whether an adviser has registered. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission offers information on its website ( to help investors choose an adviser. 4

6 Annuity Information Should I take the cash or annuity prize? For prizes that offer a cash or annuity option, the winner has 60 days from the date a claim is filed to make their choice. The Lottery does not advise winners on financial matters, so consult a trustworthy financial adviser to decide which option may be best for you. The cash option is a one-time, lump-sum payment that includes the winner s share of all of the money available in the top prize or jackpot prize pool, less taxes and deductions. The annuity option provides an initial payment followed by a series of yearly payments over time. Some prizes are offered only as an annuity and no cash option is available. I selected the annuity option but changed my mind can the Lottery give me a lump-sum payment instead? If it has been more than 60 days since your claim was filed, you cannot change your payment option. Some private firms will pay cash typically a percentage of the total remaining prize to transfer some or all future annuity payments to them. The Pennsylvania Lottery occasionally releases winner information to these types of companies as required by Pennsylvania s Right-to-Know Law. However, we do not endorse any such firm and suggest you consult with a qualified attorney who can explain the annuity transfer process. If you have questions about your annuity, please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask to speak with our annuity servicing department. What happens if I die before I receive all of my annuity payments? When claiming any annuity prize, you will be asked to designate a beneficiary to receive remaining payments should the need arise. If we do not have a designated beneficiary on file for you, payments will be made as directed by your estate representative. Consult a qualified attorney with questions about naming a beneficiary. How do I update my beneficiary information or address? Please call the Lottery, toll-free, at and ask to speak with our annuity servicing department. 5

RSL-500 (02-16) Winners Handbook Table of Contents: Congratulations! How to claim a major prize Sign your lottery ticket Group claims When and

Lottery Winner Fights State Law To Keep Identity Private

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you won the lottery, would you want to keep it a secret and stay anonymous?

That’s what a woman who won more than half a billion dollars is fighting to do, but you might be surprised that most states, including Pennsylvania, do not protect the privacy of lottery winners.

In January, a woman in New Hampshire won $560 million in the Powerball lottery. She signed the back of her ticket, but didn’t realize that when she signed it, her name was about to go public.

Her lawyers sued the Lottery Commission, attempting to keep her identity private, in part, because they say her safety would be in jeopardy.

New Hampshire Lottery officials argued the state’s right-to-know law allowed them to reveal her name.

A judge ruled Monday the woman can keep her identity private because the judge had no doubt that she would suffer an alarming amount of harassment and solicitation.

You might be surprised to know the Pennsylvania Lottery wouldn’t protect your privacy either.

“As in most states, Pennsylvania Lottery winners cannot remain anonymous and certain winner information is made public under the state’s Open Records law. This assures the public that Lottery winners are real people and that the Lottery operates with integrity and transparency,” the Lottery said.

At one point, former state Rep. Ted Harhai, of Westmoreland County, tried to challenge that. He twice introduced legislation that would have allowed lottery winners to keep their identities private, but it never went anywhere in Harrisburg.

For now, you can’t stop the Pennsylvania Lottery from releasing your information. To give people some privacy, however, on its website, it only lists your first name and an initial for your last name, along with your county and winnings.

As for the woman in New Hampshire, by not cashing in right away and fighting for her privacy in court, she lost $15,000 a day, or half $1 million a month, in interest.

If you won the lottery, would you want to keep it a secret and stay anonymous? ]]>