Kentucky AG warns about stimulus funds being illegally seized by nursing homes, assisted living facilities

Nursing home residents are some of the most vulnerable people to the coronavirus.
Nursing home residents are some of the most vulnerable people to the coronavirus.(WOIO)
Updated: Jun. 16, 2020 at 12:05 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Medicaid beneficiaries, people who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are being cautioned about possible exploitation regarding their federal stimulus checks.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron says people on Medicaid or living in those facilities should be on the lookout to see if their stimulus funds were unlawfully seized by nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

When the stimulus checks were approved, Cameron says they were labeled a tax credit by Congress under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Credits, according to the attorney general, do not count as resources for federal benefit programs such as Medicaid.

Thus they are not required to be surrendered, he says.

Cameron says even though Medicaid beneficiaries might decide to use their stimulus checks on facility care, nursing homes and assisted living facilities cannot seize these funds.

Because some people receiving Medicaid living in these facilities are isolated from their family, the attorney general says they might be more vulnerable to being victims of financial exploitation.

“Medicaid recipients living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities could be more susceptible to financial exploitation while isolated from family during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cameron explained. “In many cases, federal stimulus checks provide assistance to Medicaid beneficiaries experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19, and any unlawful seizure of those funds should be reported to our Elder Abuse and Medicaid Fraud Hotline at 1-877-228-7384.”

Families and beneficiaries should check to make sure a facility has not illegally taken stimulus funds, explains Executive Director of the Attorney General’s Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control W. Bryan Hubbard.

“I encourage Medicaid beneficiaries and families with loved ones in nursing homes or assisted living facilities to make sure facilities have not illegally seized stimulus funds," Hubbard said. "If you or someone you know is a Medicaid recipient and was forced to forfeit their stimulus check to a care facility, we encourage you to report the incident to our office.”

Complaints can also be filed online with the Federal Trade Commission here.

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