FTC Warns Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities Not to Take Residents’ Stimulus Checks


On May 15, 2020 the Elder Justice Coordinator for the Federal Trade Commission warned nursing homes and assisted living facilities not to request that Medicaid residents sign over their CARES Act stimulus checks. The FTC reports hearing of nursing homes and assisted living facilities requiring Medicaid residents to sign over the stimulus payments.

However, per the FTC, the stimulus checks are considered tax credits under the CARES Act, and therefore do not count as "resources" for federal benefit programs like Medicaid (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/05/did-nursing-home-or-assisted-living-facility-take-your-stimulus-check). For this reason, the government cannot seize the CARES Act stimulus payments, and nursing home and assisted living facilities cannot take the money just because a resident is on Medicaid.

In the event a nursing home or assisted living facility has taken a resident’s stimulus money, the FTC is instructing residents to first contact their local state attorney general for assistance in getting the money back, and then to file a complaint with the FTC.

Now that the FTC has clarified the tax status of the payments, if a nursing home or assisted living facility has required residents to turn over stimulus money they should consider the best way to immediately return the payments to residents.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Alice Harris at 803.253.8284 or ahrris@maynardnexsen.com or your regular Nexsen Pruet attorney.

Our insights are published as a service to clients and friends. They are intended to be informational and do not constitute legal advice regarding any specific situation. 

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