Do Nursing Homes Have a Right to Residents’ Stimulus Checks?
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Jan 29, 2021 in Nursing Home Abuse
As far back as May 2020, both the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received reports from multiple states that some nursing homes were attempting to get their hands on residents’ stimulus checks.
Is this legal? Are these payments considered taxable income? Are low-income Medicaid residents required to hand over this money?
With the possibility of more stimulus checks coming, PKSD explains why nursing homes have no legal rights to this money.
Financial abuse is just one of many types of nursing home abuse. If you believe your loved one is a victim of financial fraud, our firm is prepared to help. Contact our law offices to get answers to your questions and learn if you may have a legal case. There is no cost or obligation for an initial consultation.
Nursing Homes Seizing Stimulus Checks
According to the FTC and IRS, reports about nursing homes attempting to get hold of residents’ stimulus checks came from Iowa and many other states.
There was enough concern raised that in Washington, Senators Chuck Grassley R-Iowa and Ron Wyden, D-Oregon contacted the inspector general’s office at Health and Human Services. The senators called the actions of these nursing homes “improper” and “unlawful” according to an NBC news report.
House representatives, Richard Neal, D-Mass. and Frank Pallone, D-N.J. also reached out to Medicare and Medicaid services to make it clear that facilities may not take residents’ stimulus checks as income to defray other costs associated with their care.
The American Health Care Association claimed it was unaware of any “widespread issues” concerning residents’ stimulus checks. However, Lois Greisman, elder justice for the FTC was quoted as saying, “This is not just some horror story making the rounds.”
Greisman told the Wall Street Journal they received information about facilities in multiple states trying to take the EIP checks from Medicaid residents and requiring them to sign over the funds.
Does Your Nursing Home Have a Right to Your Stimulus Check?
Absolutely not. Nursing homes do not have any legal right to a resident’s stimulus check - and this includes those on Medicaid.
The argument some nursing homes are giving is that they have a right to take this money if the resident is on Medicaid. However, this is simply not true. What nursing home administrators may be referring to is that they have a right to take a percentage of a Medicaid resident’s taxable income. However, under the CARES act, these payments are structured as a tax credit and as such are not considered taxable income. This means that nursing homes do not have the right to any of this money.
In short, stimulus checks issued to any resident - including those on Medicaid:
- Belong to the resident as issued
- Do not count as eligible or taxable income
- May not be taken by nursing homes, caregivers or other long-term care facilities
- Does not impact or change a Medicaid resident’s patient pay amount or share of cost
The FTC, IRS and Medicaid all issued advisories making it clear that these Economic Impact Payments (EIP) are intended for the recipient and do not have to be turned over to caregivers. EIP payments also do not count as income for residents or Social Security beneficiaries.
Nursing Home Scare Tactics
Some nursing homes, in an effort to get residents to hand over the stimulus checks, reportedly used scare tactics to intimidate residents, such as:
- Threatening them with eviction from the facility
- Telling them they could lose their Medicaid benefits
- Denying them access to the COVID-19 vaccine
If your loved one’s stimulus check was stolen and not returned by his or her facility, you should report it to your state attorney general.
Seek Legal Help from a Trusted Attorney
The Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers at PKSD are well-versed in state and federal laws that impact your loved one in a nursing home. If you believe your loved one is a victim of financial fraud, contact our law offices 24/7, to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our attorneys. You are under no obligation to hire our firm, but if we do represent you, there are no costs or fees to pay up front. We only collect our fees if we secure compensation for you.
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