Q&A: Stimulus funds don’t count as income

Dear Liz: I hold power of attorney for my aunt, who is in a local nursing home. Medicaid pays the bulk of her cost to stay there. Her $1,200 stimulus check was just deposited into her bank account at the end of last month. The state Medicaid rules require that she not have more than $2,000 in assets. I try to keep her bank balance below that each month, which can be a challenge. Do you have any idea how the state Medicaid will handle this additional income to her bank account? Will I have to pay the nursing home additional money from it or reimburse Medicaid? Or will she be allowed to keep the whole amount? I want to be judicious with her finances and not screw up her eligibility for Medicaid (her greatest fear is being thrown out on the streets).

Answer: Your aunt is lucky to have you, and fortunately there’s no need to worry. The payments are not considered income for recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), according to a blog post by Social Security commissioner Andrew Saul. State Medicaid programs are not allowed to impose eligibility requirements that are stricter than SSI standards, according to ElderLawAnswers, a referral site for attorneys who specialize in issues relating to seniors.

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  1. Randy C Hamilton says

    You missed the real question on the Stimulus check for this guy’s aunt. He asked about her assets, not her income (or income tax). Keeping under $2000 has NOTHING to do with your answer. Does he have to spend it or could he transfer it to one of (or a new) account with only his name on it? Do Medicaid rules address this? I doubt it. All the Best.

    • Liz Weston says

      Yeah, I figured anyone who knows how the asset limit works would know not to leave the money there indefinitely, but should have spelled that out. It needs to be out of the account within 12 months.