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IRS Stimulus Payments Not Treated as Assets During PHE

Date: 
08/13/2021
Author: 
Office of Medicaid
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This announcement from MassHealth clarifies that IRS Stimulus payments (also called Economic Incentive Payments or Recovery Rebates) are not income in the month of receipt and unspent funds will not be treated as countable assets for 12 months from receipt and for the duration of the federal public health emergency. The federal PHE is expected to continue at least through Dec 31, 2021. This means anyone subject to an asset test who still has unspent funds from any of the three rounds of the IRS payments including the 1st round which they may have received in April 2020 should not have these sums included in countable assets even though they were received more than 12 months ago. 

As far as we know MassHealth has issued no instructions or guidance to applicants, members, certified application counselors about the need to verify what portion of a current bank balance represents prior IRS stimulus payment.

The application and renewal forms call for a recent bank statment to verify a bank balance. However, people with unspent stimulus payments in their accounts will need to supply additional verification to avoid having IRS payments erroneously counted as assets. The bank statement for the month in which the IRS payment was deposited is one form of verification, and until Sept. 15, 2021 self-attestation of assets is also authorized.

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