By Aric D. Burch
April 16, 2020
As the IRS begins to send out payments under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, recipients of Medical Assistance for long-term care (i.e., Medicaid or Family Care) are wondering how this payment may affect their benefits. In other words, will the payment be considered either income or an asset that causes issues with qualifying for Medical Assistance?
If the payment is considered income, there would be little or no impact on Medical Assistance benefits because the basic Medical Assistance rule is income, minus certain deductions, must be paid to the nursing home (called patient responsibility). Therefore, the stimulus payment may impact patient responsibility, increasing the amount the nursing home would receive that month, but Medical Assistance benefits would remain intact.
So, is the payment an asset?
Unfortunately, there is no current guidance from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on how the payments will be classified. However, the commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) has clarified how the SSA will consider stimulus payments for Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) recipients. Because Wisconsin follows the SSI rules to administer its Medicaid program, and Wisconsin’s requirements cannot be stricter than the SSA requirements, we can rely on the SSA’s clarification to determine how the payment will be classified.
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