By Erika Apelis

If you or your loved one received a CARES Act stimulus payment, you may be concerned about the impact of the payment on Medicaid benefits. We are still waiting on official guidance from the Ohio Department of Medicaid, but the CARES Act, federal regulations, and Ohio law provide some answers in the meantime.

Medicaid qualification is based on both income and resources. Resources are generally an individual’s (or couple’s) assets.

What is this stimulus payment?

The CARES Act characterizes the stimulus payment as a refund of a credit for the tax year 2020 (CARES Act, Pub. L. 116-136, tit. II § 2201.)

Is this stimulus payment income?

It is not income because the Ohio Administrative Code (in alignment with the Code of Federal Regulations) exempts refunds from the definition of income. (20 C.F.R. 416.1103; Ohio Admin. Code 5160:1-3-03.1.)

Is this stimulus payment a resource?

Yes, it is a resource, but it is not counted for twelve months. Medicaid excludes federal tax refunds and advance tax credits for twelve months following the month of receipt. (Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 1382b(a)(11); Ohio Admin. Code 5160:1-3-05.14(B)(2)(j).)

What does this mean for you or your loved one?

This stimulus payment is not income in the month of receipt for purposes of Medicaid qualification or yearly renewals. The stimulus payment is not a countable resource for twelve months. This means you or your loved one should spend this money on qualified expenses within twelve months of receipt.

If you have questions or need help with the spenddown of your stimulus check, qualifying for Medicaid, or your annual renewal, please reach out to Erika Apelis at or 216.978.5353.

*Please note that this the Ohio Department of Medicaid has not yet issued official guidance on this subject. This is our analysis based on existing federal and state law. We will update our analysis to reflect official guidance if and when it is issued.