Some Nursing Homes Are Taking Residents’ Stimulus Checks
The IRS began making stimulus payments on April 15, 2020. And for nursing home or assisted living facility residents on Medicaid, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has had to raise the alarm after several facilities have requested residents to sign checks over to keep their Medicaid benefits going. These facilities have no right to claim residents’ stimulus checks.
FTC’s Elder Justice Coordinator Lois Greisman says that facilities cannot request or take the funds, which are considered tax credits per the CARES Act. Those tax credits don’t count as “resources” for federal benefit programs like Medicaid, so the government cannot claim them, and neither can the nursing homes.
“This is not just a horror story making the rounds,” Greisman said. “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.”
What You Can Do If A Nursing Home Requests Your Stimulus Check
Since there is limited visitation with loved ones residing in long-term care facilities right now due to COVID-19, be sure you are still checking in with daily phone calls and stopping by for safe social distancing window chats if available. Ask to see what happened to your elder’s stimulus check payment and if anyone at their facility has kept the check or requested Medicaid payments from it. It might even be a good idea to schedule a conversation with the facility’s management to make sure they know which side of the law to be on. Other residents may not have someone looking out for their financial well-being, and you could serve as an advocate for those you don’t know. Often, when outsiders request more information regarding possible fraud or financial misconduct, it slows or lessens any inappropriate activity that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
If a facility has already requested a resident’s funds or taken them, first inform your state attorney general’s office. In Illinois, Kwame Raoul is the attorney general, and his office can be reached at 312-814-3000. Next, file an official complaint with the FTC here: ftc.gov/complaint. You can also file a complaint against an Illinois nursing home on the state’s 24-hour Nursing Home Hotline, which receives nearly 19,000 complaint calls each year.
Greisman continued to say that if you need more help, “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.”
If you suspect a law has been broken and the financial rights of the people who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities have been violated, seek justice by speaking with an attorney to help investigate and file a complaint. Complaints often uncover violations. The attorneys at Levin & Perconti have experience in these cases and remain determined to support the financially misguided or exploited.
Chicago’s Elder Abuse and Neglect Attorneys
The Illinois nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti can help if the personal finances of a loved one have been mismanaged or failed to be protected by their caregivers. Call us toll-free at 1-877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872 for a free and confidential consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.