by Lou Ann Kibbee
I had been asked about how stimulus checks will work for people who are in nursing homes. I found the information below at this link https://www.medicaidplanningassistance.org/covid-19-stimulus-checks-impact/ at the American Council on Aging where there is additional information if you want it. So people in nursing homes get to keep their stimulus payment of $1,200 each just like anyone else. This money is not considered income and must be used within 12 months of receiving it. Most importantly the nursing home does not get to take this money. So if you know someone wanting out of the nursing home or you get a call from someone wanting out of the nursing home, this $1,200 could certainly help them to do that. Some Centers have gotten calls of people wanting to transition out into the community. The nursing homes is one of the most dangerous places to be right now with the way COVID-19 is spreading through some of them. So many lives being lost in some of these places. As of yesterday 17 nursing homes are cluster sites for the virus. The other thing we can do is if we know anyone in a nursing home, make sure they know that they get to keep their stimulus payment. Hope this information helps!
Nursing Home Residents
The receipt of a stimulus check by Medicaid beneficiaries who reside in nursing homes will not impact these individuals’ Medicaid benefits. Stated differently, the receipt of the check will not disqualify them from Medicaid nursing home care. This is because Medicaid will not count the money as income, which means it cannot push one over Medicaid’s income limit, and hence, result in the loss of Medicaid benefits.
While Medicaid-funded nursing home residents are required to surrender all of their income except for a personal needs allowance and a monthly maintenance needs allowance for a non-applicant spouse (if applicable) to Medicaid, the money from the stimulus check will not have to be surrendered to Medicaid. This is because, as mentioned above, the stimulus check is not considered as income by Medicaid. Rather, it can be thought of as a tax refund.
Furthermore, the stimulus check will not count as assets, given the money is spent within 12-months of receiving it. So, within this timeframe, a nursing home Medicaid recipient can have possession of the money and it will not impact one’s Medicaid eligibility. However, it is imperative that the money, in its entirety, be spent within one year. If not, the money will count towards Medicaid’s asset limit and can potentially push one over the limit, resulting in Medicaid disqualification.
The money can be spent by nursing home residents in a number of ways. For example, one might buy new clothing, purchase a television for his / her room, stock up on extra snacks, or purchase an irrevocable funeral trust. What one does not want to do is to buy assets that are counted towards Medicaid’s asset limit. For instance, collectors coins would most likely be considered an investment and the value of them would be counted towards the asset limit, potentially causing one to be over the limit and lose Medicaid benefits.
The stimulus check will either be directed deposited in the nursing home resident’s bank account or be mailed to the address on one’s 2018 or 2019 tax return. To further clarify, if a refund was issued via direct deposit for one’s tax return, the stimulus check will be directed deposited in the same bank account. If not, the check will go in the mail. Persons who do not have to file tax returns, such as Social Security recipients, will receive stimulus checks in the same manner in which they receive their Social Security benefits. Therefore, if one receives his / her Social Security payment by direct deposit, the stimulus check will automatically be received via direct deposit also.