By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is urging Kansans to use caution with regard to federal COVID-19 stimulus checks if they have relatives in long-term care facilities.
"People who are on Medicaid and live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, when they've received their stimulus checks from the federal government as part of this COVID response, in some cases, the nursing facility or the long-term care facility has told the person, you have to sign that check over to us, or we claim an interest in the money, because now you're making too much and so the regular Medicaid rules don't apply. That's not correct."
Congress did not intend for stimulus checks to be paid back in to those facilities.
"The way Congress structured the stimulus payments, they don't count as what's called resources of a Medicaid beneficiary," Schmidt said. "That's a defined term of art. The whole point of the stimulus payment was to put money in the pockets of people who may spend it to stimulate the economy."
Schmidt notes that his office has not received any such complaints yet, but he wants to know if facilities try to claw back that money.
"We have received quite a few inquiries from people in Kansas asking if it's happening here," Schmidt said. "We decided to put the word out, to explain what the rules are and to invite people to contact our consumer division if it happens to them."
Consumers may contact the office by phone at (800) 432-2310 to request a paper complaint form be sent by mail or log on to InYourCornerKansas.org.