Coronavirus Questions? We Have Answers…

Question: My Mom is in the nursing home on Medicaid. Can the nursing home take Mom’s $1,200  coronavirus stimulus payment?

Answer: No.

The Social Security Administration just posted a blog article that says, “Please note that we will not consider economic impact payments as income for SSI recipients, and the payments are excluded from resources for 12 months.”[1]


Let me explain. Federal law says that when it comes to Medicaid, states can’t “use a methodology regarding income and resource eligibility that is more restrictive than that used by the SSI Program.”  In other words, the SSI (Supplemental Security Income) rules apply to Medicaid.

The SSI rules say that if you have too much income, then you can’t get SSI.  So if we apply this rule to Medicaid, we get the rule that says if you have too much income, then you can’t get Medicaid.

But the Social Security blog post says that the coronavirus stimulus payment will not be considered income. So the nursing home can’t take that money. Your Mom can keep the money and she won’t lose Medicaid.

But here’s a warning:  Medicaid doesn’t just look at your income.  It also looks at your assets.  And if Mom is single, she can’t have more than $2,000 in countable assets.  (Mom’s home and car and a few other things are not countable assets.) So let’s say that Mom has $1,000 in her bank account.  That’s less than $2,000, so she’s eligible for Medicaid.  But once she gets the $1,200 stimulus payment, she’ll have $2,200 in her bank account.  That’s more than $2,000.  Will she lose her Medicaid?  Not according to the blog post from Social Security; Mom will be able to keep and use the extra money for up to 12 months.  But is she still has over $2,000 in her bank account after the 12 months, then there is going to be a problem.

But please don’t have Mom give away the money.  Medicaid doesn’t like it when people give away money rather than paying the nursing home.  And because the coronavirus payment law is so new, no one really knows that if giving away the $1,2000 will cause a problem.


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