The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a devastating toll on the nation, especially the elderly. In addition to having to worry about their health, many nursing home residents are worrying about how they’ll continue to pay the bills. The federal government is working on passing a $1.9 trillion-dollar economic stimulus package which currently includes a $1,400 stimulus check for many adults. This new round of stimulus money can go a long way towards helping a nursing home resident with medical costs, food, clothing, even paying for their care in a nursing home facility. Yet, who does this stimulus money really belong to? If some nursing home facilities are to be believed, themselves.

Even in the middle of a crisis, some nursing home facilities continue to prove that they are out for the almighty dollar and not the best interests of the people they are supposed to be caring for. Here’s a case in point. The Federal Trade Commission has issued an important message they are hoping makes it to nursing home residents and their families: your government stimulus check belongs to you, not the nursing home where you reside. Why this urgent message? After the first round of stimulus checks went out to Americans in early 2020, there were complaints to the FTC that some nursing home facilities took residents’ stimulus checks, claiming that they were for Medicaid costs. That is categorically false.

According to the text of the original CARES Act, stimulus checks are technically considered a tax credit. A tax credit does not count as a resource that needs to be used for federal benefits programs such as Medicaid. Because it’s a tax credit, a stimulus check cannot be seized by the government, including federally-run or any other types of nursing home facilities. National news outlets picked up on the story, and yet that didn’t seem to stop some facilities from trying to strong-arm residents out of their stimulus money.

The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office has warned all residents of the potential for scams and fraud when it comes to Covid-19 stimulus checks. However, many elderly residents may not suspect that their own nursing home is attempting to defraud them of money that is technically theirs. If a nursing home claims the money is rightfully theirs because the resident is on Medicaid, a resident may not think to ask questions or contradict the entity in charge of their care.

Although not talked about often enough, financial abuse of the elderly is a legitimate and serious problem. Financial abuse drains anywhere from $3 billion to $37 billion a year from elderly individuals. Financial abuse can be the result of fraud, scams, and even theft. Elderly residents and their families need to know that if a new round of checks is issued, that stimulus money is intended to be given to and used by the person whose name is on the check. Anything else could be considered criminal. Nursing homes have no right to take an elderly resident’s stimulus money.

Do you suspect that a family member is being abused in a nursing home setting? Has there been a substantial change in their finances? Do you know where their stimulus money went? If these questions are bothering you and you suspect abuse, contact the legal team at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP for help. We have experience handling a wide range of abuse claims, from physical to financial. To speak with a seasoned nursing home abuse attorney, contact us today at (859) 550-2900. Let us set you up with a free case evaluation and talk about your concerns.