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Do you or a loved one live in a nursing home or assisted living facility? Are you (or they) on Medicaid? If you said “yes” to both, please read on and prepare to get mad. We’ve been hearing that some facilities are trying to take the stimulus payments intended for their residents on Medicaid. Then they’re requiring those people to sign over those funds to the facility. Why? Well, they’re claiming that, because the person is on Medicaid, the facility gets to keep the stimulus payment.

But here’s the deal: those economic impact payments are, according to the CARES Act, a tax credit. And tax law says that tax credits don’t count as “resources” for federal benefits programs, like Medicaid. So: when Congress calls these payments “tax credits” in the CARES Act, that means the government can’t seize them. Which means nursing homes and assisted living facilities can’t take that money from their residents just because they’re on Medicaid. And, if they took it already, get in touch with your state attorney general and ask them to help you get it back.

This is not just a horror story making the rounds. These are actual reports that our friends in the Iowa Attorney General’s Office have been getting – and handling. Other states have seen the same.

If you’ve experienced this already, tell your state attorney general’s office first, and then tell the FTC: ftc.gov/complaint. If a loved one lives in a nursing facility and you’re not sure what happened to their payment, talk with them soon. And consider having a chat with the facility’s management to make sure they know which side of the law to be on.

Need more back-up? Then let me get legal on you for a minute. You can go right here to get the federal tax law that says refunds aren’t considered a “resource” in federal benefits programs. And you can click this link to get the Congressional Summary that talks about the funds as tax credits not countable as resources for federal government programs. (It’s on page 3.) And here’s even more helpful information from the National Center on Law & Elder Rights for people who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

Again, though: if this has happened to you or a loved one, find your state attorney general’s office contact information at naag.org and talk with them right away.

28 Comments


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Outreach
May 15, 2020
Go after the nursing homes and send them a strong letter to return the money. The patients will be afraid if they say anything they will be asked to leave and are afraid to do so in many cases! Protect seniors.
Bank Security …
May 15, 2020
Let me get legal on you? LOVE it!
WatchcatfromWMass
May 15, 2020
I am proud of the FTC for revealing scams and phishing schemes, and going after scammers, fraudsters, price gaugers, and anyone who is trying to cheat ordinary citizens. The FTC is displaying what good government oversight looks like in the time of Covid. Keep on doing what you are doing!
Sheila
May 15, 2020
When my mother died, the money she had in her personal account was seized by the nursing home she lived in. When I tried to get it, I was told that she owed the money because she was a Medicaid resident. Taking stimulus payments seems to be the latest way to take advantage of residents and their families.
KenyettaMoBetter
May 17, 2020

In reply to by Sheila

Ironically, my mom's name is Sheila and she's in one here in South Carolina. And yes, they took her Stimulus check and presented me, her ONLY child, with a $12,000 bill that she now magically owes.
nyyfan
May 15, 2020
Hello, My 26 year old son is severely disabled, and resides in a residential setting. He is on Medicaid, and Medicare the organization does take a large portion of his SSDI for his cost of living needs . OPWDD confirms that this is in all non profit organization' s. Would his stimulus check be a resourse in a non profit organization? Thank you so much for your help. J
FTC Staff
May 15, 2020

In reply to by nyyfan

According to the CARES act, the economic impact payments are a tax credit. Tax law says that tax credits don’t count as “resources” for federal benefits programs, like Medicaid. Congress called the stimulus payments “tax credits” in the CARES Act, so it means the government can’t seize the payments. Which means nursing homes and assisted living facilities can’t take that money from residents just because they’re on Medicaid.

If a facility took it from your son's payment, you can contact your state attorney general and ask them to help get it back.

Amanda
May 28, 2020

In reply to by nyyfan

it will be his / ( yours to assists him) to buy things he needs. The facility my father is in only cuts checks up to a certain amount at a time but we can request and purchase a TV...phone .. clothing...diapers .. not to sound brass but make deposit with burial acct. The facility does not get to keep it
Shockalock
May 18, 2020
How can I tell if they did indeed get it because they didn't tell me nor did I get receipt of it.. Thank you
A. Brown
May 15, 2020
Good data and thanks for publishing. I receive Medicaid and this allowed me to understand how this stim payment fits into the Medicaid qualifications. Good news.
sunilbhumi803
May 16, 2020
Thank
Graced76
May 16, 2020
I do believe this happened with my mom already. I called and asked if her stimulus check was delivered at the facility she lives in and the business manager told me she wouldn't be eligible for one at all. I cant get a status on her check online at all so I really dont know what to do at this point. Who could I check with??
What if?
May 19, 2020
What if the beneficiary still has an outstanding balance in their account from when they were private-pay, before they spent down their resources and became eligible for Medicaid? Can the stimulus funds be used to offset that liability?
Caresaboutothers
May 19, 2020
How can we find out if a payment has been made? Who can we call? Seniors in nursing homes need assistance other than internet info. My senior is afraid to ask. Thank you.
FTC Staff
May 19, 2020

In reply to by Caresaboutothers

If a person gets Social Security benefits, including retirement, survivors, SSI and SSDI benefits, you can look at the Social Security Administration chart that tells when and how people will get their payments.

The Social Security Administration said, that in general, people would get the stimulus payments the same way they get monthly payments from Social Security. But the SSA does not send payments, the IRS does. 

Social Security says they can give limited help over the phone. You can search for your local office on this page or call the national number:       1-800-772-1213. The IRS Economic Impact Payment page tells people they should not call right now.

 

Wit
June 19, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

My husband and I both get SSA by direct bank deposit, but we got paper stimulus checks in the mail. So the SSA information above is not correct. The stimulus checks do not seem to connect to SSA bank deposit information. This is a problem if a SSA recipient has moved since their last tax filing. It's June 19 and my friend has still not seen a stimulus check. She was living in assisted living when she last filed taxes in April 2019 and has since moved. Assisted living place says she did not receive a check. I am skeptical.
Blue1986
May 19, 2020
What happens to a person stimulus check if they have a representative payee?
Don't use your…
May 19, 2020
My brother is in charge of my mothers finances and he was told by the nursing home she is in that he will have to sign it over to them when it comes. I don’t understand this
FTC Staff
May 20, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

Because of Congress,  nursing homes can't take a stimulus checks from a resident just because she is on Medicaid. If they take it, you can call the Attorney General in your state. The Attorney General in Iowa is already handling a case about this. Use this list to find your state attorney general. 

Here is more about nursing home residents and stimulus checks.

Ge Rogers
May 20, 2020
I read this artical and realized my friend who is in a nursing home could be subject to unlawful withdrawals of her money. I did call the nursing home in Shreveport LA. They said they will separate the money from her disability which they manage but it has to be held into her account and anyone that brings receipts for things bought for her will get paid from it. Is this lawful? She cant have access to her own stimulus money?
KW
May 22, 2020

In reply to by Ge Rogers

This is the exact same response that the nursing home my mother is in gave!!! I recommended they look a little deeper because I’m not satisfied with that answer.
Pandagirl
May 20, 2020
Letter should sent out to all care facilities..
HowToKnow
May 20, 2020
My mother resides in a nursing home...one that just had to repay $15.4 MILLION for fake therapy bills 2 months ago & I can't get her information on the Get My Payment site get the Payment Status Not Available. I got my check and I still get the message my information doesn't match! It's a horrible site. I called the nursing home today and they said she didn't receive it...but I have 15.4 million reasons to not believe them. I went to the Social Security site which gives the payment time of when she should have got her payment and that time has passed. Is there any other way to find if she did receive her payment and they took it?
Don't use your…
May 22, 2020
Can the nursing home ask for a person's stimulous money If they are 1 month behind
Eddie !62
May 26, 2020
My Brother lives in a nursing home and they won't let him have his stimukus check said he was not on the list to get one. I don't understand, I was told everyone will get s one. so can u help my Brother gets his
Tammy
May 28, 2020
How do I find out of the nursing home received my mom’s stimulus check? They tell me they haven’t. But they also said if they did it would go to the nursing home.