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Stimulus check went to nursing home


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POSTED: Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Question: I'm a patient in a nursing home. Recently I received a $300 check from the government stimulus plan, and my son put it in my checking account.

However, I pay my cost share monthly. Now I want to know, does this nursing home have the right to add this $300 to my monthly cost share (rent)?

I had plans to pay something, but now I don't have anything and I'm angry.

  Answer: Depending on how your cost share contract works, the nursing home may have been right in withdrawing the additional money you deposited.

For instance, you might be required to use the stimulus payment to pay the nursing home, if you are on a sliding scale system, in which you must pay according to what you have and report additional income.

Generally, your stimulus payment is treated like any other income with the exception that it is not taxable for income tax purposes. However, the stimulus payment is not considered income in terms of your eligibility for federal or state benefits.

If you are receiving Medicaid/Medicare for your care at the nursing home, the stimulus payment should have no affect on your eligibility nor count as income.

Your stimulus payment is not considered a resource for the month it is received and the two months that follow.

After that it might be fair game to count it as income.

It's hard to say if anyone did anything wrong without knowing more about the payment plan set up with your nursing home. If they violated a term of your contract with them, you could have a claim to your money.