Federal stimulus payments may not be taken by nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities
PROVIDENCE – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that his Office has issued guidance reminding nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities that they are not permitted to seize, retain, or confiscate a resident's federal stimulus payment. The Office has received complaints of facilities confiscating federal stimulus payments from residents.
"Our older and more vulnerable residents deserve to receive their federal stimulus payments like everyone else. These payments belong to the residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities and not to those facilities," said Attorney General Neronha. "This is true regardless of whether a resident is Medicaid-eligible or a Medicaid beneficiary, and regardless of any debts that may be owned to a facility by a resident."
In March, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided direct cash assistance to individuals and families in the form of a one-time cash payment, known as a stimulus payment. Rhode Islanders, including those residing in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities received federal stimulus payments of up to $1,200 by direct deposit, paper check, or prepaid debit card.
Facilities that receive these federal stimulus payments in the mail for residents must immediately deliver the payments to the residents. Facilities that may have already confiscated a payment from a resident must immediately return the funds to them.
If facility administrators have concerns about delivering or returning payments because of a resident's incapacity or mental health, they should contact the resident's guardian or legal representative, or contact the Attorney General's Office at (401) 274-4400 (prompt 6) or email email@example.com.
Additionally, federal stimulus payments under the CARES Act are not considered income under Medicaid rules and would not affect Medicaid eligibility. These payments are also not considered assets for Medicaid eligibility purposes until 12 months after the funds are received.
The guidance issued today by the Attorney General's Office contains helpful questions and answers concerning these topics. The full guidance is available here: https://bit.ly/2UGmcT8
Concerns about seizure of federal stimulus payments can be directed to the Office of the Attorney General Elder Abuse unit at 401-274-4400 (prompt 6) or firstname.lastname@example.org.