Attorney General: residents’ stimulus checks off limits to assisted living facility, nursing homes

Published 6:23 pm Wednesday, June 3, 2020

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Reports of assisted living facilities and nursing homes withholding residents’ economic impact payment have North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein warning people that the act is illegal.

“Our federal partners have alerted us to reports of nursing homes and assisted living facilities attempting to require residents to sign over their $1,200 economic impact payments,” reads a May 15 press release from the North Carolina Department of Justice. “The nursing homes claim that because the person is on Medicaid, the facility is entitled to the money. This is not true and unlawful, and anyone who is asked to turn over their payment to someone else should not do so and call our office.”

In Washington, a relative of a local assisted living facility resident is cautioning families to check their loved ones’ accounts after she says the facility withheld a portion of her niece’s federal coronavirus stimulus check.

Francis Martin says Clara Manor, an assisted living facility in Washington, withheld close to $500 from her niece’s check. After that information was shared on social media, and Martin reached out to Beaufort County Department of Social Services, the money was returned to the resident’s account.

“She told me the money was put back in her account (Wednesday) morning,” Martin said.

A representative from Clara Manor, who declined to share her name for publication, said the situation was a misunderstanding between the facility and the resident, and that the issue had since been resolved.

A representative from the NCDOJ said Wednesday the office had not received any complaints about assisted living facilities in Beaufort County.

According to the federal CARES Act, the economic impact payment is a tax credit. The North Carolina Department of Justice says, under federal law, tax credits do not count as resources for federal programs like Medicaid.

“While a facility seizing economic impact payments to pay for the resident’s stay is unlawful, there may be other scenarios where the facility is acting on a resident’s behalf to deposit their payment into an account/fund to be used at the resident’s discretion and for their own purposes,” a DOJ representative wrote.

Beaufort County DSS Social Work Program Administrator Lori Leggett said she could not confirm whether her office had received any complaints, but says anyone experiencing such issues should contact DSS.

Martin says it’s important to keep a close watch on family members’ account balances at assisted living facilities.

“They need to check on it,” Martin said. “I called another family member, and they got theirs right when the money came in. They need to check on loved ones’ money in the nursing homes. Most nursing homes have an account where they put the money in for the patients to spend, and they need to keep an eye on that.”

If you or a loved one has signed over a payment, contact the NCDOJ’s Consumer Protection Division at or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM. Beaufort County DSS can be reached at 252-975-5500.

This article previously refered to Clara Manor as a nursing home. In fact, it is an assisted living facility.