Nursing homes should keep hands off stimulus checks
Nursing home residents and their family members should be cautious about having their economic impact payments or “stimulus checks” improperly taken from them. By law, nursing homes cannot require residents on Medicaid to sign over their stimulus payments.
“My office has received concerning reports about nursing homes that may attempt to take stimulus checks from their residents,” said Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford. “On many fronts, we’re actively working to protect our seniors, and any confiscation of stimulus payments should be reported to my office.”
According to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, stimulus checks are a tax credit and do not count as a “resource” for federal benefit programs like Medicaid. Because Congress has designated these payments as a tax credit, the government cannot seize them for federal benefits programs.
While Medicaid requires nursing home residents to contribute most of their income toward the cost of care, it still allows them to keep a small amount as personal-need allowance and pay for personal and uncovered medical expenses. The stimulus payments count towards this personal-need allowance. If nursing homes or their staff obtain this money without the resident’s consent, this may be considered a form of elder exploitation.
If you believe a nursing home resident who is a Medicaid recipient has forfeited their stimulus check to a nursing home, you may file a complaint with the Office of the Nevada Attorney General at http://ag.nv.gov/Complaints/File_Complaint/ or with the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. You may also call the hotline toll free at (888) 434-9989.