WINSTON COUNTY - Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is advising nursing home residents who are Medicaid recipients - along with their family members - that they should be vigilant against having their federal stimulus payments improperly taken from them.
While Medicaid recipients may have to sign over resources, in some circumstances, to nursing homes where they reside, this does NOT apply to current federal stimulus checks from the CARES Act. Congress classified these monies as tax credits. Under tax law, tax credits do not count as “resources” for federal benefits programs. This means that recipients may keep the stimulus payments, and that they may not be seized by nursing homes.
“We are now beginning to receive a few reports of concern that some Alabama nursing homes may be attempting to take stimulus checks from residents who are Medicaid recipients. If this is happening, it needs to stop now,” said Marshall. “These stimulus checks are rightfully and legally the property of the residents and must be returned. Confiscation of these checks is unlawful and should be reported to my office.”
The Federal Trade Commission is also receiving reports from across the United States about nursing homes attempting to take residents' stimulus checks. They agree that under federal law, nursing homes are not allowed to touch this money.
"If a loved one lives in a nursing facility and you’re not sure what happened to their payment, talk with them soon. And consider having a chat with the facility’s management to make sure they know which side of the law to be on," FTC officials advise.
If it is believed that a resident who is a Medicaid recipient has forfeited their stimulus check to a nursing home, they or their loved ones are encouraged to contact the Alabama Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (334) 242-7300.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.