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Nursing Home Residents, Medicaid, and Stimulus Checks: What You Need to Know

Will Stimulus Checks Affect My Medicaid Eligibility?

No. Under Medicaid rules, a stimulus payment is not counted as income. Therefore, receiving a stimulus payment does not change a resident’s monthly payment (often called a “patient pay amount” or “share of cost”). The resident pays the same monthly amount to the nursing facility and keeps the stimulus payment for their own use. In addition, the stimulus payment does not count as a Medicaid resource for 12 months. In other words, for the first year, the payment cannot cause you to have “too much” savings.

EXAMPLE: An unmarried resident receives $1,082 monthly Social Security benefit and has $1,800 in savings. Each month she pays the nursing facility $1,000 from her income, and keeps $82 for personal needs. After receiving the $1,200 stimulus payment in May 2020, her payment obligation to the nursing facility does not change. She continues to pay $1,000 monthly. After receiving the stimulus payment, her savings will increase from $1,800 to $3,000. To retain Medicaid eligibility, she must spend down her savings to under $2,500 within the month.

Are There Restrictions on How I Can Spend the Stimulus Money?

In general, a resident should spend the stimulus money on their wants and needs.

When Will the Check Arrive?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began sending stimulus payments on April 17, 2020. Checks are sent the same way checks are currently sent for persons receiving Social Security. All recipients of Social Security benefits, including retirement, survivors, disability (SSDI), and supplemental security income (SSI); Veterans Administration benefits; or Railroad Retirement benefits will receive payment automatically, without any action on their part. If someone is currently receiving benefits through direct deposit, the stimulus payment will arrive through direct deposit as well.

Under recent COVID-19 legislation, most nursing facility residents are receiving stimulus payments of up to $1,200. The Internal Revenue Service will issue these payments in the same way that you receive your Social Security benefit (direct deposit or a paper check by mail). This money belongs to you, not the nursing facility! This is true even if Medicaid pays for your care and services at the facility.

 

Based on an Article from National Center on Law & Elder Rights

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David Wingate is an estate planning and elder law attorney at Estate and Elder Planning by David Wingate. The Estate and Elder Planning office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick, Washington and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

Notice: this Blog is published as a free service of the Estate and Elder Planning by David Wingate. The information is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific questions, please consult with one of our experienced attorneys. We encourage you to share this newsletter with anyone you think may be interested.

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