Stimulus Checks, SSI, and Medicaid: Will Your Clients Be Affected?
With CARES Act stimulus checks beginning to hit bank accounts this week, many low-income Americans are wondering how and if the money will affect their needs-based government benefit eligibility. Injured claimants who rely on government benefits to survive may be even more fearful due to the realities of dealing with long-term medical impairments.
The Commissioner of the Social Security Administration responded to concerns in a blog post dated April 3, 2020. He wrote,
“[...] we will not consider economic impact payments as income for SSI recipients, and the payments are excluded from resources for 12 months.”
In other words, the stimulus check will not affect eligibility for SSI, Medicaid, and other benefits that use asset tests to determine eligibility (assuming the money is spent within 12 months).
Caution Ahead for Injured Claimants
For injured claimants, the stimulus check may provide some financial relief during an already difficult time. However, those same injured claimants still need to work with their attorney and settlement consultant to put together a plan for preserving needs-based government benefits. Why? Because a lump-sum cash settlement typically exceeds the asset threshold for needs-based government benefits.
Even the largest settlement may not be sufficiently cover the lifetime cost of caring for an individual with acute medical needs. Preserving much-needed government benefits directly impacts whether or not a settlement will provide long-term financial stability and increased quality of life.
Contact Sage Before Your Next Case Settles
Our consultants are available to provide timely guidance and virtual mediation assistance for your injured clients. For more information on how to preserve Medicaid, SSI, and other needs-based benefits, contact us today.
More information regarding CARES Act stimulus checks can be found on the Social Security Administration’s COVID-19 website. Income tax filers and non-files can find additional information on the IRS' Economic Impact Payments page.