The one-year deadline for nursing home and waiver residents on Medicaid to spend down their first round of stimulus checks is here, but they may have a little extra time.
In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorized $1,200 stimulus checks to most Americans, including Medicaid recipients. Another round of $600 checks was authorized in December 2020, and $1,400 checks were authorized in February 2021. The stimulus checks are not considered income for Medicaid recipients, and the payments have been excluded from Medicaid’s strict resource limits for 12 months.
While the one-year deadline for spending down the first round of checks is here, another COVID-19 bill gives beneficiaries more time. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed in March 2020 provides that if you were enrolled in Medicaid as of March 18, 2020, the state cannot terminate a recipient’s benefits even if there is a change in circumstances that would normally cause the benefits to be stopped. The law states that the recipient’s Medicaid coverage must continue through the end of the month in which the Secretary of Health and Human Services declares that the public health emergency has ended. The public health emergency is set to end April 20, 2021, but it will likely be extended.
While Medicaid recipients may have a little extra time, they shouldn’t delay too long in spending down the money if it has pushed them over the resource limit, which is $2,000 in Indiana. See our February article for some examples of what a Medicaid recipient may be able to spend the money on without affecting their eligibility.
If you have questions about what you or a family member receiving Medicaid can do with a stimulus check, the Stinson Law Firm can assist you. Contact us today at 317-622-8181 or www.stinsonlawfirm.com.
Jeff is Certified as an Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation, a distinction held by only a handful of lawyers in Indiana. For almost 20 years, he has focused on elder law, estate planning, long-term care planning, Medicaid planning, Veterans Affairs benefits planning, special needs planning, guardianships, and estate administration.