Personal Incentive Check Distribution

NYSHFA | NYSCAL received information regarding the $1,200 stimulus checks that will be distributed by the Federal Government and is providing the information below from AHCA. SSI beneficiaries that do not have qualifying children under the age of 17 will not be required to take any action.   The stimulus check will automatically go in the bank account on record as long as a SSA-1099 has been filed for 2019.  Those that have not filed this form can go to the form at the IRS web page to provide the information. The link has been provided in the information below.

A number of questions have come up related to COVID-19 Personal Incentive Checks including media inquiries on how the funds are being handled for SNF patients and NF residents. Couple of summary statements and, below, are lengthier explanations: 

  1. Medicaid eligibility is protected;
  2. Medicare coverage is protected and coinsurance begins as it did before COVID-19;
  3. $1,200 will be deposited as their current benefit checks are deposited and managed; and
  4. Pre-COVID-19 SNF and NF patient and resident income and asset management protections remain in place for the $1,200.  

Detailed Discussion & Resources 

  • Medicaid Treatment of Relief Payments in CARES Act. CMS has clarified that the relief payments people receive from the CARES Act may not be counted as income when making Medicaid and CHIP eligibility determinations. In addition, these payments may not be counted as resources for 12 months.  See Question 54 in the Medicaid FAQ here 

Question 54 Text:  Is the relief payment to individuals and families provided by section 2201 of the CARES Act countable for Medicaid and CHIP eligibility? No. Section 2201 of the CARES Act allows a refundable tax credit for 2020 to eligible individuals. It also directs the Internal Revenue Service to provide payments in 2020 as an advance refund of the credit to eligible individuals, called “Recovery Rebates.” The payments are not taxable income, and are therefore not countable in MAGI-based eligibility determinations. Separately, 26 U.S.C. § 6409 prohibits the counting of federal tax rebates or advance payments with respect to refundable tax credits as income, and, for 12 months following receipt, resources, in the eligibility determination of any federal needs-based program (such as Medicaid). Thus, the Recovery Rebates may not be counted as income, and, for 12 months, as resources, in non-MAGI financial eligibility determinations. 

  • Personal Incentive Check Distribution to SSA Beneficiaries (virtually ALL SNF patients are Medicare beneficiaries and therefore are receiving SSDI or OASDI and most long-stay residents are receiving SSI and are therefore Medicaid eligible):  For Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability beneficiaries (this includes OASDI (old age retirement), SSDI (disabled workers), SSI (elders and persons with disabilities with very low incomes) who do not have qualifying children under age 17, do not need to take any action with SSA or the IRS.  Treasury will automatically deposit the $1,200 economic impact payment directly from the IRS into the bank account on record as a long as an SSA-1099 for 2019 was filed.  If not, the beneficiary simply goes to a form at the IRS webpage to provide the information.  Click here for SSA guidance.  
  • Implications for SNF Patients and NF Residents:  
    • This means that the $1,200 do not impact Medicaid eligibility and will help Medicare PAC Patients  – no one switches over to private pay nor is required to private pay for whatever period would have taken to burn through the $1,200 and spend down to Medicaid eligibility.  For Medicare beneficiaries, because their coinsurance and deductibles are not changed, their coinsurance simply would begin for SNF Medicare PAC on day 21 as it did prior to COVID.  If anything, this will help folks cover their coinsurance payments.  So SNFs and NFs DO NOT receive any extra private pay associated with the checks. 
    • Because these checks are being deposited largely using the same process as OASDI, SSDI and SSI checks, the checks will go to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts or Legal Representative managed bank accounts.  SNFs and NFs will have NO NEW access to these funds.   The existing SNF and NF protections for be COVID remain in place.  
    • CMS Beneficiary Statement:  “You have the right to manage your own money or choose someone you trust to do this for you. If you ask the SNF to manage your personal funds, you must sign a written statement that allows the SNF to do this for you. However, the SNF must allow you access to your bank accounts, cash, and other financial records. The SNF must place your money (over $50) in an account that provides interest, and they must give you quarterly statements. The SNF must protect your funds from any loss by buying a bond or providing other similar protections.”  Click here to view the full CMS beneficiary protections webpage.