Don’t let nursing homes take your loved one's stimulus check

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By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service
May 20, 2020

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has announced he is suspending laws that permit the service of a garnishment summons, wage deduction summons, or a citation to discover assets as part of consumer debt collection proceedings. (MGN)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- Scattered reports of Florida nursing homes cashing residents stimulus checks has Florida’s Attorney General warning it's possible their facility pocketed the money, but there are ways you can fight back.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said her office is investigating complaints of nursing homes pocketing stimulus checks meant for residents in their care.

“These are the folks that cannot protect themselves,” said Moody.

She wants you to know it’s illegal.

“That was not what was intended by the CARES Act and it's unacceptable, won't be tolerated and we're making sure we get that word out,” said Moody.

The Attorney General told us she couldn’t disclose the names or how many homes are under investigation.

She also declined to specify the penalties those homes could face if they’re found to be stealing checks.

Kristen Knapp with the Florida Health Care Association, which represents over 80% of the state’s nursing homes, told us there was some initial confusion about how nursing homes should handle the stimulus checks.

“We do care for Medicaid residents,” said Knapp.

Facilities wanted to ensure the money wouldn’t disqualify their residents from receiving Medicaid, but the issue has since been cleared up.

“These federal dollars are treated almost like a tax refund so they don't count against their Medicaid eligibility,” said Knapp.

It important to check with your loved one's care facility before filing a complaint.

While a resident may not see a physical check, it could have been deposited in their resident trust fund.

“You know it's similar to like the personal needs allowance where that money is there to use for whether it's buying a gift for a loved one or however they see fit,” said Knapp.

And Moody is asking Floridians to reach out to her office if you do suspect foul play.

“Call our office 1-866-9-NO-SCAM,” said Moody.

Nursing Homes will be holding a meeting Thursday to provide their members with additional guidance from on how to handle the checks.