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posted: May 12, 2009

Timely Tips

Timely Tip: Watch for $250 Stimulus for Seniors Mailing Now

On May 7, the federal government began mailing tax-free $250 stimulus checks or making automated deposits to seniors receiving Social Security Retirement benefits as well as those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement Benefits, and/or Veterans, Disability Compensation or Pension benefits. 

Be on the lookout to be sure your senior receives a check by June 4. If you have no evidence that your senior received a $250 payment, make a reporting call to either your local Social Security office or dial (800) 772-1213.  

Nursing home residents should also receive a $250 stimulus payment, even if they are receiving Medicaid benefits. This $250 is for the personal use of the resident, and the money should not be retained by the nursing home. If your nursing home resident's Social Security or other retirement income is going directly to a nursing home every month, the nursing home is required to separate out the stimulus payment and make that money available directly to the resident.  

This stimulus payment will not be considered as reportable income, and therefore there will be no income tax due on this payment. It will not be counted as a resource for Medicaid eligibility purposes for 10 months (including the month it was received). This means that you will not have to worry about this amount bringing your elder's assets over the allowed Medicaid amount for 10 months. 

If your senior is in a nursing home and the nursing home is receiving his or her monthly income directly, be sure to ask about this $250 stimulus payment. If the facility tells you that this money has been received and is being used by the nursing home or is in any way not available to your resident, you should lodge a complaint immediately. Start with your state survey agency, contact your ombudsman, and file a complaint with your state attorney general.

-- By Molly Shomer
Head Coach
The Eldercare Team

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