Nursing Home Residents: Keep your economic impact payment

If finances are tight, the federal economic impact payment being issued through the CARES Act for coronavirus relief may have a big impact on your well-being. Unfortunately, residents of care facilities in many states (including Iowa) are being told incorrectly that they must relinquish their payment.

This problem occurs when an individual is receiving Medicaid benefits to help cover the cost of their care. Nursing home administrators, acting on misinformation, believe they must recover the extra income to defray Medicaid costs. However, the CARES Act specifically labels the payments as “tax credits,” and tax credits are exempt from income and resource limits placed on those who are benefiting from certain government assistance programs.

Nearly every United States household should receive an economic impact payment, including households that receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Veterans Administration benefits. The payments should be deposited automatically to the same account where you receive either your tax refund or your SSA, SSI, or VA income. The IRS, which is responsible for issuing the payments, offers a lookup resource to help people track their payment. Note: the look-up link for those who do not file a tax return is separate from the link for tax filers; be sure to use the correct link.

If you have loved ones living in care facilities, especially if they are receiving Medicaid benefits to help cover the cost of care, be on the watch for any attempts to get them to turn over their economic impact payment to the facility. If this has already occurred, it should be refunded; contact the Iowa Attorney General’s office for help if needed. Note: it is important to keep in mind that nursing home administrators who try to claim the payment are not trying to steal; they are trying to do the right thing, but are simply misinformed about what the law requires.

Source: Federal Trade Commission

Barb Wollan

Barb Wollan

Barb Wollan's goal as a Family Finance program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is to help people use their money according to THEIR priorities. She provides information and tools, and then encourages folks to focus on what they control: their own decisions about what to do with the money they have.

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SSI for Premies

photoI now know more about Social Security Insurance (SSI) benefits for premature babies, than I ever wanted to know. After 10 days in the hospital, trying NOT to have a baby, my daughter began receiving visits from a Social Worker, informing her of all the services that were available to her, should she deliver her baby, which at that point would be 16 weeks early. My daughter only half listened because she had no intention of delivering for at least a month, and preferably not for another 2 or 3 months.

He arrived (26 weeks gestation) weighing 1# 13 oz and is amazing everyone as he is weaned from oxygen, glucose, insulin, ultraviolet light and more. Daily visits to the hospital to deliver the milk she has pumped and to spend time, skin to skin, with her little son will continue till he goes home on what should have been his due date, Jan. 2, assuming he reaches 4#, along with several other benchmarks.

The Hospital Social Worker paid her another visit…this time with paper work to apply for SSI benefits for her son. He will receive $30 a month which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you think about the bills that will rack up over the next three months in a NICU, $30 is $30. A child born weighing under two pounds, ten ounces, is automatically entitled to SSI benefits as well as Medicaid coverage. Once dismissed from the hospital, Medicaid and Social Security will end. Should a child be disabled (blind, deaf, etc. for example) the benefits can again be applied for.

The Medicaid Insurance will be applied to bills that are not covered by his parent’s health insurance. Should both parents have health insurance through their employers, the policy that will be considered as primary would be decided by whose birthday comes first in the year.

In my daughter’s case, the hospital’s social worker informed my daughter about the benefits, brought the paperwork to her and assisted her with the applications. Not all hospitals provide that service. In that case, it would be the parent’s responsibility to visit the local Social Security office or go online to fill out the paperwork.

It is important to contact the Social Security Administration immediately after your child is discharged. You will be responsible to repay any benefits received after the discharge and it is not the hospital’s job to notifying the Social Security Administration.

For more information on applying for Social Security benefits for your preemie, the Social Security Administration has a great website with lots of information and tools as well as an office locator.  ~Brenda

Brenda Schmitt

Brenda Schmitt

A Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Family Finance Field Specialist helping North Central Iowans make the most of their money.

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