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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has advised nursing home surveyors that most nursing home residents will be receiving a one-time cash benefit of $250 between May and June 4, 2009.  CMS made it clear to the surveyors that the $250 Stimulus money belongs to the residents, not the facilities.  The CMS Guidance states that:

  • The money is the residents' money to spend for their "personal use and not to pay the facility for cost of care;"

  • Facilities "that receive money directly on behalf of the resident must set the money aside in the resident's personal needs account;" and

  • Surveyors should be aware of the payments and investigate any complaints involving "the protection, management, and access of resident personal funds."

CMS, "One-Time Cash Benefit to Nursing Home Residents," S&C-09-38 (May 15, 2009) (Memorandum from Thomas E. Hamilton, Director, Survey and Certification Group, to State Survey Agency Directors).

The Center for Medicare Advocacy thanks CMS for the prompt issuance of this important surveyor guidance explaining residents' rights to the cash benefit provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Particularly for residents using Medicaid, who are required to contribute most of their income to the cost of their care in their nursing facility and who are generally allowed to keep only a $35 or $40 personal needs allowance each month (some states allow more), $250 is a lot of money. 


The Center wrote Mr. Hamilton, on April 29, asking that he issue such guidance.  He promptly did so and we thank him and CMS.


Center for Medicare Advocacy, "Stimulus Checks for Nursing Home Residents: Who Keeps the Money?  Residents" (Weekly Alert, April 30, 2009),


Center for Medicare Advocacy, Letter to Mr. Hamilton,


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