Long-term Care Residents’ Right to Retain Federal Stimulus Checks

June 19, 2020

HHSC is aware of allegations that some long-term care providers are seizing, or retaining, a resident’s economic impact payment (or “Stimulus Check”) authorized under the CARES Act.

This practice is prohibited and is a violation of state and federal regulations. The Centers for Medicare Services (CMS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have both issued clear guidance prohibiting the practice. Economic impact payments authorized under the CARES Act are not income, and do not affect a resident’s Medicaid status if spent within 12 months. Providers that seize or withhold these payments from residents are subject to state and federal enforcement actions, including potential termination from participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

HHSC believes it is important for residents and families to know their rights, and for providers to understand their responsibilities and possible liabilities associated with this practice.

CMS and HHSC will make referrals to the state’s Office of the Attorney General, as appropriate, if they find a provider in violation of these regulations.

Residents and families are also encouraged to contact the Office of the Attorney General, directly, for redress of their individual loss.