Spending Down Stimulus Money When You are Receiving Medicaid
Individuals receiving long-term care Medicaid assistance must keep their “savings (resources)” below $2,000.00 each month. This does not seem like it would be difficult however, it can be a daunting task when all of your needs are being met by your nursing home facility. When you add in stimulus money given to you by the government it can seem downright impossible. Although the stimulus money received by Medicaid recipients has not been considered income, it is a resource for the you and may cause/have caused you to be over the allowable $2,000.00 in your bank account. So, the question becomes, what can be done to preserve those precious benefits?
You can, of course, spend down those proceeds on allowable expenditures. You can purchase a variety of items such as clothing, electronic devices, glasses, hearing aids, dental services and professional services, to name a few. But what happens if you don’t need any of the allowable spending options? First, a one-year extension was given for individuals in a nursing home and who were receiving Medicaid. Meaning that you have/had 12 months to spend the stimulus money you received without penalty. For round one of the stimulus money, that first 12 months has now expired or soon will expire, so now what?
There may be more time allowed for spending that extra money you have received. In March of 2020 the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed and that brought some good news for some nursing home individuals receiving Medicaid benefits. So long as you were receiving Medicaid benefits for nursing home care on March 18, 2020, there can be no changes in your coverage benefits until the end of a month where the Secretary of Health and Human Services declares that the public health emergency has ended. The public health emergency was set to expire on April 20, 2021 but has now been extended for 90 days. This means that for those meeting the March 18 criteria, you now have until July 2021 to spend your stimulus proceeds without penalty.
Although you now have a little more time to spend, you should be looking at some options to get your resources back into compliance with the Medicaid rules. Pay off a debt you have, purchase some of the identified items above, look into medical assistance devices that may allow you easier mobility, etc. If you have any questions about properly spending down your resources, please contact our office and schedule your free consultation.
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