FTC Warns Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities Not to Claim Residents’ COVID-19 Stimulus Checks

The Federal Trade Commission late last week warned operators of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that residents’ stimulus checks cannot be counted as resources for Medicaid purposes.

Citing the text of the CARES Act, the FTC affirmed that the one-time stimulus payments of up to $1,200 count as tax credits and not “resources” or income, making them ineligible for the nursing home or assisted living facility to claim.

“If you have clients who operate nursing homes or assisted living residences, a word of advice from you now can save them from making a serious misstep,” FTC elder justice coordinator Lois Greisman wrote in a blog post. “We’ve heard that some facilities are requiring residents on Medicaid to sign over their stimulus payments to the facility. That contradicts the CARES Act, so you’ll be doing your clients a favor by cautioning them against that practice.”

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The FTC has already been made aware of complaints regarding the improper seizure of stimulus funds, including some handled by the Iowa attorney general’s office, according to Greisman.

The federal agency, which handles a variety of consumer-protection and antitrust complaints, invited residents and their families to report such cases to both the FTC and their state attorneys general.

“If a loved one lives in a nursing facility and you’re not sure what happened to their payment, talk with them soon,” Greisman wrote in separate advice to consumers. “And consider having a chat with the facility’s management to make sure they know which side of the law to be on.”

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