The COVID Crisis: FTC Warns That Some Nursing Homes Are Taking Stimulus Checks From Residents

May 15, 2020

Consumers across the U.S. are continuing to receive stimulus checks to offset the financial impact of COVID-19, but the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that some payments made to seniors are being seized by nursing homes and assisted care facilities.

In a blog post published on Friday, FTC Elder Justice Coordinator Lois Greisman said that some older consumers in the Medicaid program are being deceived into handing over their stimulus checks to the facilities they live in. The agency has received complaints from consumers in numerous states noting that the stimulus checks were unlawfully claimed by these facilities as a “resource” under the rules of Medicaid.

“Economic impact payments are, according to the CARES Act, a tax credit. And tax law says that tax credits don’t count as ‘resources’ for federal benefits programs, like Medicaid,” Greisman said. “When Congress calls these payments ‘tax credits’ in the CARES Act, that means the government can’t seize them. Which means nursing homes and assisted living facilities can’t take that money from their residents just because they’re on Medicaid.”

FTC urges victims to contact authorities

If you or someone you know has been forced to sign over their stimulus check to a nursing home or assisted care facility where they live, the FTC urges you to contact your state’s attorney general to report the issue. Consumers can also file a complaint with the FTC reports Consumer Affairs.

The agency has provided several additional resources to consumers that they can reference when it comes to this issue. Consumers can visit this website to view the federal tax law which stipulates that stimulus payments do not fall under the “resources” category of Medicaid. Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities can also visit the National Center on Law & Elder Rights for more information.

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