What Happens If You Get Government Benefits and Win the “Shottery”?

Maryland is entering all residents who get at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose into a lottery, sometimes called the “Shottery”.

What Happens If You Get Government Benefits and Win the “Shottery”?

Maryland is entering all residents who get at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose into a lottery, sometimes called the “Shottery”.

40 people will receive winnings of $40,000 each (one winner a day from May 25, 2021 through July 3, 2021).  On July 4, the 41st and final winner will get $400,000.

If you win the Shottery, will you lose your government benefits?

Here are the key facts:

  1. You almost certainly won’t win the Shottery anyway.
  2. If you did win, you could keep (or quickly re-start) benefits (some would require you to take certain actions):
    • For SSDI – Your benefit would continue without any action.
    • For Medicare – Your benefit would continue without any action.
    • For SSI – Your SSI payment would pause the month you got the Shottery payment, but could be re-started the next month if you took certain actions.  Your Medical Assistance (Medicaid) would continue without stopping at all, without any action.
    • For Section 8 and other rental assistance funded by HUD – Your rental assistance would continue.  Your rent would not increase if you took certain actions.
    • For SNAP (Food Stamps) – Your SNAP would stop as soon as you got the Shottery payment, but you could reapply and get it back as soon as you took certain actions
  3. If you wanted to keep SSI, Medical Assistance or SNAP (Food Stamps) – or avoid having your rent increase in a HUD program – without taking any of the actions described below, you could simply refuse the Shottery payment.
  4. If you win the Shottery and get government benefits, Accessible Resources for Independence (ARI) will give you FREE BENEFITS COUNSELING to ensure you can protect your government benefits.

Details:

Your odds of winning the Shottery are extremely low – less than 1 in 88,000.  The chance you’ll be struck by lightning is 6 times greater.

SSDI and Medicare are not affected by lottery winnings.  You could win the Shottery and keep full SSDI and Medicare whether you saved or spent the Shottery payment.

SSI would pause the month you got the Shottery payment because your income would be too high that month, but your Medical Assistance (Medicaid) would continue that month anyway.  To get your SSI payment back the next month and continue your Medical Assistance, you could do any of the following BY THE LAST DAY OF THE MONTH YOU GOT THE SHOTTERY PAYMENT:

  1. Spend the Shottery payment
  2. Put the amount of the Shottery payment you didn’t spend into an ABLE account or special needs trust
  3. Buy a car with the Shottery payment
  4. Invest the Shottery payment into the home you live in (such as by paying off part of the mortgage)

Section 8 and other rental assistance funded by HUD are not directly affected by Shottery payments.  You could get a Shottery payment and still keep rental assistance.  If you kept some or all of the payment, your rent would increase by 30% of the interest or dividends you earned on the Shottery payment.  To avoid having your rent increase,  you could do any of the following as soon as possible:

  1. Spend the Shottery payment
  2. Put the amount of the Shottery payment you didn’t spend into an ABLE account or special needs trust
  3. Buy a car with the Shottery payment

SNAP (Food Stamps) benefits would stop as soon as you got a Shottery payment.  You could reapply for SNAP as soon as you were eligible again.  To be eligible again, you could do any of the following:

  1. Spend the Shottery payment
  2. Put the amount of the Shottery payment you didn’t spend into an ABLE account or special needs trust
  3. Buy a car with the Shottery payment
  4. Invest the Shottery payment into the home you live in (such as by paying off part of the mortgage)

Written by Michael Dalto, Maryland Department of Disabilities.

What Happens If You Get Government Benefits and Win the “Shottery”?
What Happens If You Get Government Benefits and Win the “Shottery”?
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