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Substantial Lottery or Gambling Winnings

A household does not qualify for SNAP after a household member receives a "substantial lottery or gambling winnings." The household must report when it receives "substantial lottery or gambling winnings" within 10 calendar days of receipt.

What are "substantial lottery or gambling winnings"?

"Substantial lottery or gambling winnings" are those where a household member wins a cash prize in a single game that is equal to or greater than the lottery or gambling winner resource standard. The household remains ineligible until the household spends the winnings below this standard.

Countable Amount

You must count the gross amount won in a single game. When multiple persons shared in the purchase of a ticket, hand, or bet, count only the portion of the winnings allocated to a household member.

Required Verification

The household must verify the "substantial winnings" and any amount the household has spent. SNAP prefers documentary verification when it is available. When possible, use a statement from the lottery commission or gaming facility to establish the winnings amount and bank statements to track the spenddown. Send a Client Contact and Information Request (Form 08AD092E or ADM-92) when necessary.

Action on Substantial Lottery or Gambling Winnings

When a household member received substantial gambling or lottery winnings and has not spent down the winnings below the lottery or gambling winner standard

  • at application, deny the application. Use the "exceeds resource standard (15)" denial.

  • during the certification period, close the SNAP benefit. Use the "exceeds resource standard (15)" closure. Make certain to allow the household advance notice.

Regaining Eligibility Timeframe

After denial or closure, the household may reapply and regain eligibility by showing the winnings are now below the lottery or gambling winner resource standard. When the household verifies the winnings are below the resource standard before denial or closure, document the spenddown in FACS, and allow the household to continue SNAP eligibility.

FACS Coding

Record the substantial lottery and gambling winnings in FACS case notes and coding. In the Eligibility Notebook, update the Total Countable Resources Field (IMS C32). The winnings are an “OTHER” liquid resource on the Resource tab of the Interview Notebook. Update the Resource Indicator (IMS F111, F115, F119, F123, or F127) and the Resource Amount (IMS F110, F114, F118, F122, or F126).

Example 1:

Sharon applies for SNAP benefits on October 2. She does not normally gamble but went for her first time last week. She won a new car valued at $25,000. Will this prevent her from receiving SNAP benefits?

No, the substantial lottery or gambling rules only apply to cash awards. Winning a vehicle does not count.

Example 2:

You approved Felix for SNAP in May. On July 1, he calls to see if he is still eligible. He won the Powerball lottery and is now a multimillionaire. He received that payout on June 25 and reports he has millions left in the bank. What do you tell Felix?

Explain that winning this amount makes him ineligible, and ask him to provide verification of his winnings and any amounts already spent. Send a Client Contact and Information Request (Form 08AD092E or ADM-92).

If Felix verifies he is over the appropriate resource standard within 10 calendar days, then close his SNAP benefit with advance notice. Use the “exceeds resource standard (15)” closure.

If Felix fails or refuses to verify his winnings, you must still close the SNAP benefit due to the unclear information rules. Use the "FAILED OR REFUSED TO PROVIDE NECESSARY VERIFICATION WITHIN THE TIME ALLOWANCE (45)" closure.

Example 3:

Jorge and 9 coworkers have been pooling their money to purchase lottery tickets. The idea is that, if they ever win, they will split any winnings equally. Jorge is receiving SNAP benefits when Jorge and his coworkers win $50,000. Does Jorge have substantial lottery winnings, and if so, how much does Jorge have to spend before he is eligible.

Jorge received substantial lottery winnings. When multiple individuals purchase a shared ticket, the client is only responsible for his or her share. Jorge must report the gross portion of the winnings he actually receives. This is $5,000 ($50,000/10 workers=$5,000). The lottery or gambling winner resource standard is currently $3,500; the winnings must be below this amount. Jorge must document he spent more than $1,500 ($5,000-$3,500=$1,500).

Example 4:

Diana applies for SNAP on November 17, 2019. During her interview, she reports that she won $10,000 on a single race at the horse track in July 2019. She reports she is not normally a gambler but just got lucky. She reports she already spend these funds. Do you have to verify she spent down these funds before approving her for SNAP?

Yes, Diana must verify the amount received and the amounts spent. SNAP uses documentary evidence as the primary source of verification and other types of verification when it is not available. Diana should be able to verify her winnings through verification from the horse track and the amounts through her bank statements. When it is not possible to get this verification, you may have to use other methods of documenting the amounts spent. Record how you verified and resolved substantial lottery or gambling winnings in case notes.

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