With a second round of stimulus checks on the way to many Americans, the Federal Trade Commission is advising consumers to report “grabby” assisted living and nursing home operators who try to take residents’ checks.
Lois C. Greisman, an elder justice coordinator with the FTC, said in a Jan. 4 blog post that communities and facilities that try to do so should be reported to the FTC and to the attorney general in the state where the effort is occurring.
The checks are meant for individuals, not for the assisted living communities or nursing homes where some recipients may live, said Greisman, who had made a similar post in May when the first round of so-called economic impact payments were issued.
In that round, Greisman wrote in her latest post, some long-term care providers, particularly those serving Medicaid beneficiaries, “tried to take the stimulus payments intended for their residents.” Such efforts, she added, were illegal “and kept some attorneys general busy recovering those funds for people.”
Now, checks of up to $600 each for individuals or $1,200 for married couples, resulting from a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill signed by President Trump on Dec. 27, are being sent to individuals whose income qualifies them.
“[W]e would hope those facilities have learned their lesson. But, just in case, let’s be clear: If you qualify for a payment, it’s yours to keep,” Greisman told consumers. “If a loved one qualifies and lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s theirs to keep. The facility may not put their hands on it, or require somebody to sign it over to them. Even if that somebody is on Medicaid.”
Greisman also counseled assisted living and nursing home residents who are expecting the money to have a “quick chat” with the manager of the community or facility where they live “to remind them that the rules are the same this time through.”