Stimulus Payments Belong to Recipient, Not Nursing Homes or Care Facilities
Following concerns that businesses may be taking advantage of those who received an economic impact payment, the Internal Revenue Service recently notified nursing home and other care facilities that the recent stimulus payments received by many Americans generally belong to the recipients, not the organizations providing the care. This means that these payments do not count as resources that have to be turned over to nursing homes whose care is provided by Medicaid.
This is the case even if a nursing home or other provider receives the person’s payment either by direct deposit or check. Additionally, these payments do not count as a resource for Medicaid eligibility purposes or for other federal programs for up to 12 months from receipt of the funds. These funds also do count as income for the purposes of these programs.
If you are a representative payee, the Social Security Administration has released guidance on this issue. Specifically, they have stated that the economic impact payment is not a social security benefit; therefore, the payment belongs to the social security recipient. For that reason, representative payees are required to provide the funds to the social security beneficiary upon the beneficiary’s request.
As for taxes, the economic impact payment is considered a tax refund for benefits purposes, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps).
Additional information about EIPs and representative payees involving Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits can be found at www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/#reppayee.
Ask Kit Kat: Dolphins in our Midst
Hook Law Center: Kit Kat, what can you tell us about dolphins at the Virginia Beach oceanfront?
Kit Kat: Well, apparently their numbers are increasing there. This year has been a banner year for the number of births among dolphins. Babies are known as calves. Though those babies can weigh about 30-40 pounds at birth, they can grow to be up to 500 pounds. Most sightings of dolphins near the oceanfront occur from April through October. The type of dolphin which lives off the Virginia Beach oceanfront is the bottlenose. They feed on fish in the drum family according to Mike Mizell, boat program coordinator for the Virginia Aquarium. In the drum family are such fish as spot, croaker, and trout. Fish in the drum family make a vibrating noise to assess water depth. This noise alerts dolphins to their presence.
Dolphin calves are fun to watch, because as they are learning to swim, and they’re not so skillful as their parents. Mizell comments, “Adults come out of the water more gracefully. The babies stick more of their head out of the water than necessary as they get used to breathing.” What draws people to dolphins, however, is their playfulness. Mizell has seen them flip jellyfish out of the water with their tails, just for the fun of it. They seem to thrive on human attention. On a recent boat ride with tourists, several dolphins swam in the boat’s wake.
If you’re interested in viewing these adorable creatures, you have 2 options. Both Rudee Tours and the Virginia Aquarium offer daily dolphin watching tours, weather permitting. Dolphins remind us of just how fun nature can be! (Stacy Parker, “Awed by the pod in Virginia Beach’s waters,” The Virginian-Pilot, June 21, 2020, p. 1 & 6)