On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 “Stimulus Bill” Public Law 111-5, which provides a one time payment of $250 to each recipient of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement Benefits and Veterans Disability Compensation or Pension Benefits.
For purposes of determining eligibility under any federal program or under any state or local program financed in whole or in-part with federal funds, the ARRA of 2009 “Stimulus Bill” mandates that these payments are not countable as income and are not a countable resource for the month of receipt and the following nine months.
What this means in plain English is that a Medicaid recipient in New York will not need to count the receipt of the $250 as income or as a resource in the month it arrives (May 2009 for many) or in the following nine months. If the individual is on Medicaid with a spend-down, the $250 receipt will not need to be included in the spend-down in the month it arrives. If the individual is in a nursing home receiving Medicaid assistance the payment does not need to be paid over to the nursing home because it is not part of income or resources. The funds should likely be spent for the recipient during the following nine months, however, as depending on the individual's exact situation the $250 could cause them to be "over-resourced" when they are recertified for their Medicaid program after the end of the ten-month "grace period." To determine whether this could happen the recipient should review their situation with the attorney who helped them qualify for benefits or another elder law attorney.