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Substantial Lottery or Gambling Winnings

A household loses eligibility when a household member receives “substantial lottery or gambling winnings.” OKDHS must disqualify the household, and the benefit must close. The household must reapply to regain eligibility.

When disqualified, the household loses categorical eligibility. This lasts until the household reapplies, verifies income and resources, and is successfully certified.

You must check for “substantial lottery or gambling winnings” at application and renewal and ask the household to report these winnings during the certification period.

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 $3,500 lottery or gambling winner disqualification standard. The household must have won during a month it received SNAP to be disqualified.

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. Use only the amount of the winnings (not any other resources) to determine if you must disqualify a household.

Required Verification

The household must verify the "substantial winnings" and any amount the household has already spent. SNAP prefers documentary verification when it is available.

The lottery commission or gaming entity must issue Form W-2G, Certain Gambling Winnings, to the winner when the winnings:

  • (not reduced by the wager) are $1,200 or more from a bingo game or slot machine,
  • (reduced by the wager) are $1,500 or more from a keno game,
  • (reduced by the wager or buy-in) are more than $5,000 from a poker tournament, or
  • (except winnings from bingo, slot machines, keno, and poker tournaments) reduced, at the option of the payer, by the wager are $600 or more and at least 300 times the amount of the wager.

When possible, use verification from the lottery commission or gaming facility or Form W-2G 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

  • 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 advanced notice.

Regaining Eligibility

After denial or closure, the household may reapply and regain eligibility. The household is not categorically eligible and must establish resource eligibility.

  • This also applies to households receiving SSI and TANF. OKDHS must close their food benefits, and they must reapply and regain eligibility the same as all other households.

  • For resources, the value of all of the household's countable resources (not just the winnings) must be at or under the appropriate standard to regain eligibility.

The disqualification standard of $3,500 is the same for all households. There is a separate regain standard for households with and without elderly and disabled household members. This means households without an elderly or disabled household member will have to spend more to regain eligibility.

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 disqualification standard within 10 calendar days, then close his SNAP benefit with advanced notice. Use the “exceeds resource standard (15)” closure.

If Felix fails or refuses to verify his winnings, 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 nine 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 disqualification standard is currently $3,500.

Jorge's total countable resources must be at or below the appropriate standard to regain eligibility. The countable resources include his winnings. The example does not explain whether Jorge is elderly or disabled. If Jorge was elderly or disabled and had no other countable resources, then Jorge must spend at least $1,500 ($5,000-$3,500=$1,500). If he is not elderly or disabled and had no countable resources, the minimum spent is $2,750 ($5,000-$2,250=$2,750).

Example 4:

Diana applies for SNAP for the first time 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 does not normally gamble 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?

No, Diana was not receiving SNAP when she won. Do not disqualify her. The household must receive SNAP in the same month it wins to earn a disqualification.

Example 5:

Tony first received SNAP on March 11. His certification notice informed him that he was eligible to access 211 Oklahoma services if needs help locating any community resources. On April 12, he wins $15,000 in a single blackjack hand. He loses $14,000 over the next day. On April 28, he reports his winnings and losses to you. What do you do?

You must verify Tony's situation. SNAP uses documentary evidence as the primary source of verification and other types of verification when it is not available. Tony should be able to verify his winnings through verification from the casino and the amounts spent through his 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.

You must close Tony's food benefits. When he initially applied, he was categorically eligible as he was eligible for 211 Oklahoma services. Since he won substantial lottery and gambling winnings, he has to reapply to regain eligibility. You must confirm not just the value of the winnings but any other countable resources he has.

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