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How Money Damages Affect Selected Public Benefits

NOTE: In the MassHealth section there is a reference to a change in federal law effective in 2014 regarding the scope of Medicaid's right to be reimbursed from money damages. That change was initially delayed, and finally repealed in 2018. Section 53102, PL 115-123, February 9, 2018, 132 Stat 64, Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The repeal restores federal statutory language interpreted by the Supreme Court in two earlier cases as limiting Medicaid’s reimbursement to the amount of damages for medical expenses --not for lost wages or other injury. Arkansas Dept. of Health and Human Servs. v. Ahlborn, 547 U.S. 268 (2006) and Wos v. E.M.A. ex rel. Johnson, 568 U.S. 627 (2013).


This chart contains some impacts on public benefits  of a client receiving a settlement or cash award.  Beware that not every benefits rule is considered in this chart. Also, the rules for the programs can change at any time.

Additional considerations for Section 8 tenant who gets lump sum cash for keys post-foreclosure can exclude that payment from Section 8 annual income: 24 CFR 5.06(c)(3) Lump-sum additions to family assets, such as inheritances, insurance payments (including payments under health and accident insurance and worker's compensation), capital gains and settlement for personal or property losses (except as provided in paragraph (b)(5) of this section); or (9) Temporary, nonrecurring or sporadic income (including gifts).

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