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Attention Nursing Home, Adult Home and ALP Residents: You May Keep Your Covid Stimulus Check!

18 May, 2020

Federal Stimulus checks and the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation checks ($600/week)  cannot be counted against an individual’s financial eligibility for Medicaid or SSI.   Medicaid and SSI recipients have 12 months to spend the checks before they are counted as a "resource" for eligibility for their benefits.  GIS 20 MA/05.  Residents  of nursing homes, adult homes, Assisted Living Programs, and other congregate care  facilities have the right to keep their stimulus checks.  See MFJ Fact Sheets (Nursing Home) (Adult home).

NEWS ALERT - May 15, 2020 --  The Federal Trade Commission just issued a blog titled, "Nursing homes and assisted living facilities: Hands off residents’ stimulus checks!"  The blog  says that the facility administrators  are not allowed to take the COVID-19 stimulus checks residents are receiving.    In the  alert,  the FTC stated there had already been complaints about facilities taking the payments in Iowa and some other states. 

 

Though the NYS Dept. of Health informed local government Medicaid agencies that  the stimulus payments do not count for Medicaid eligibility  (GIS 20 MA/05), many nursing home, adult home, and ALP operators do not know this, especially since it's such a change from the usual rule that requires most of the residents' income to be paid to the facility toward the cost of their care, with the resident receiving only a small  monthly Personal Needs Allowance or "PNA." 

ADVOCACY: 

April 13, 2020, NYLAGMFJ, & NYAIL, joined by 14 other organizations, wrote to the NYS Dept. of Health requesting  a directive to facility operators to ensure that the stimulus payments are protected for residents.  The same advocates have sent DOH  four  follow-up requests, emphasizing the urgency because the payments have already started arriving in facilities’ bank accounts.  Still, as of May 18, 2020, DOH has not issued instructions to facility administrators. 

What you can do if a resident's Stimulus check was taken by the facility?

If a resident of a nursing home, adult home, or other congregate care facility believes that their Stimulus check was taken by the facility:

  • Show the operator the FTC blog and demand that the funds to be placed in the individual’s personal needs account or be  transferred to the consumer in the way the consumer requests. 

  • If the operator does not return the funds to the consumer:

  • Call the NYS Dept. of Health Complaint unit:

o   Nursing homes: 888-201-4563

o   Adult homes/assisted living:   866-893-6772

 

For advocacy help call:

  • In NYC: 

o   Mobilization for Justice

o   NYLAG –

 

See more COVID-19 resources at:

 

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