Most nursing home residents are receiving stimulus check payments of up to $1,200 under the COVID-19 economic relief legislation. The IRS will issue these payments to such ones in the same way they receive their Social Security benefit (either direct deposit or by check).
Will the stimulus check affect Medicaid eligibility?
No, the stimulus check will not affect Medicaid eligibility. Those living in nursing homes or assisted living can keep their stimulus check, even if they are on Medicaid. These stimulus payments are not counted as income. Receiving a stimulus payment does not change the Medicaid recipient's monthly liability (i.e. amount paid to the nursing home). The resident will continue paying the same monthly amount to the nursing home and keep the stimulus check for his own use.
In addition, the stimulus check does not count as a resource for 12 months. The stimulus payment is a tax credit. Tax credits do not affect eligibility for government programs (like Medicaid) and are not counted as a resource that you must use to pay for benefits. However, the money must be used within 12 months or it will be counted as a Medicaid resource.
Are there Restrictions on How You Spend the Stimulus Check?
The stimulus check is the resident's money to spend how he wants. There are no restrictions on how he spends the money, including making gifts or charitable contributions. Remember, though, that Medicaid recipients can only gift a total of $1,200 per year with no penalties.
Has a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility Taken Your Stimulus Check?
Sadly, there have been reports to the Federal Trade Commission of nursing homes and assisted living facilities taking stimulus payments from their residents. The facility may claim that because the person is on Medicaid, the facility gets to keep their stimulus payment. This is not true.
With most nursing facilities currently closed off to the public, it may be more difficult to monitor your loved one's finances if they live in a nursing home. If you are not sure what happened to your loved one's payment, talk to the facility's management. If you find out that the nursing facility has taken your or your loved one's stimulus payment, report it to the Indiana attorney general's office immediately. Then, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
National Center on Law & Elder Rights Nursing Home Residents, Medicaid, and Stimulus Checks: What You Need to Know
Federal Trade Commission Did a nursing home or assisted living facility take your stimulus check?