Spring is such a beautiful and wonderful time of year. We treasure the warmth of bright sunshine, chasing away winter’s cold…colorful daffodils and other flowers nodding in gentle breezes…birds perched in the trees, singing their feathery symphony…the pungent smell of earth being plowed up by farmers for another year’s planting and harvesting…
Along with Spring comes Spring storms. Thunder growling in the distance…lightning flashing long, jagged marks across the skies…rain, and sometimes hail, coming as nature’s visitors who are not always welcome...
In Springtime, as we savor the special beauty of this season, we can also look forward to life after the storms. For the storms of Springtime, and of life, do always end. Though we are now in the midst of a world-wide type of storm with the Coronavirus pandemic, we know that this, too, shall pass. We look ahead to better days and the return of normalcy in our lives as we wait for this storm to run its course.
There are many resources available at SKIL to help you through this stormy time in our lives. We have abundant information on both our website and our Facebook pages. Please read them often. We are also available via telephone, e-mail, fax and other social media.
Last week we also started offering a free emergency Mercy Box. It will be available outside the front door of several of our offices Monday through Friday during the day of our work week. The Mercy Box contains food and other essential necessities. Please take what you need and give what you can. There is no requirement to give or pay anything to take items from the Mercy Box. It is there for you.
We are here for you, to help you navigate the mazes that this pandemic has brought us. Thank you for being our customers and friends. We appreciate every single one of you! Please let us know how we can be of good assistance and encouragement during this time.
I love you all, Shari
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.
Wednesday, April 21, 2020 deadline for Social Security Beneficiaries with Children: The CARES Act provides economic impact payments of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples and up to $500 for each qualifying child. We've added information on these payments. Here are a few important things to keep in mind:
- Eligible Social Security (including SSDI and SSI), Veterans Administration, and Railroad Retirement beneficiaries who don’t normally file taxes will automatically receive payments of $1,200.
- Any of these beneficiaries who have qualifying children under age 17 and did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes must use the "Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info" tool on IRS.gov to claim the $500 payment per child.
- SSA retirement, SSA survivor, SSDI, and RRB beneficiaries must submit this information by noon ET Wednesday, April 22.
- For those who miss the April 22 deadline, their automatic payment will be $1,200 and, by law, the additional $500 per eligible child would be paid in association with a return filing for tax year 2020.
- SSI and VA beneficiaries have some additional time but should enter this information as soon as possible.
Economic impact payments will not be counted as income for SSI recipients, and the payments are excluded from resources for 12 months.
I hope all of you enjoyed a restful, peaceful Easter. There was no Hello From Shari column last week. Every year, SKIL is closed in observance of Good Friday. My family and I had a cookout for Easter.
This week’s column is about negativity and some ways to deal with it. “Negative” is the opposite of “positive.” The word negative has a problematic, unhappy connotation in many people’s minds. Generally, we don’t like being around people we deem as “too negative,” for they can have a bad influence on us, our thinking and even our entire lives if we allow it.
That said—let’s be honest. Most or all of us suffer from occasional bouts of negativity or a negative outlook in our lives, don’t we? We arise in the morning feeling grouchy (some call it “getting up on the wrong side of the bed”) and, even when the sun is shining and the birds are singing their hearts out, we feel unhappy. The proverbial “glass of water” is half-empty, not half-full. We may feel unfulfilled, unappreciated, disrespected, fed up at our spouses and kids, ready to quit our jobs and at our worst, even unworthy and unloved.
Sometimes, our feelings and outlook do stem from a legitimate basis. In my own life, I have had to overcome tremendous negativity and heartache after experiencing terrible events like our house fire last year. What helped keep me plowing forward was the huge outpouring of love, compassion and tangible help that so many showed me and my family during one of the worst times of our lives. It made me realize, in a way I never had before, just how much I truly am valued and loved.
And that’s the best way to fight negativity…to really focus on the good things in life instead of the bad things, while continuing to put one foot in front of the other to move forward. Another effective way to fight negativity is to get in touch with what’s really bothering you, examine if there’s a genuine basis for your unhappiness and try to deal with it. Focusing on actual solutions, and then working to effect them, is a great answer to resolve what’s bothering you.
To do that, and do it effectively, we must first practice acceptance…of our negative feelings, of whatever the situation is that is fueling our unhappiness and realize that we, ourselves, may have a part in the problem.
Tackling negativity, and in a healthy way, is a struggle for many people with disabilities. I encourage all of you, especially during this difficult time in our lives amid the Coronavirus pandemic, to realize that this is a common struggle, not a unique one. It is not “evil” to feel negative, it’s human. Think of yourselves as overcomers, because all of you are.
And remember always that our staff at SKIL and I love you, for we are all in this fight together to overcome negativity in our lives. Thanks for reading my column; I hope it’s been a positive experience for you!