Holocaust or Nazi Victim Reparations -- Effect on Medicaid, SSI and other Federally Funded and New York State Benefits
Under a 1994 law, (h.r. 1873 or public law 103-286), Holocaust compensation payments made to individuals based on their status as victims of Nazi persecution are excluded from being counted as income and resources in determining both eligibility for and the amount of benefits to be provided under any Federally funded program based on financial need. This means payments made to victims of Nazi persecution do not increase the countable income, and therefore do not increase the Medicaid "spend-down" of Holocaust survivors and other Nazi victims. Savings accumulated from reparations are not counted as resources. The same exemption applies to Supplemental Security Income, Food Stamps and Federally subsidized Housing programs.
The Conference on Material Claims Against Germany hosts a webpage with information about this important exception, with materials authored by Selfhelp Community Services, Inc., an organization that had its origins in assisting people fleeing from Nazi Germany in 1937.
Reparations in General - Excluded from Medicaid, SSI and other Federal Benefits
* The Fact Sheet gives information about an important administrative hearing decision rendered in 2007 that clarifies proof needed to exempt accumulated savings when a Nazi victim applies for Medicaid. A redacted copy of this 2007 decision is posted here also described in this press release.
* A transfer of restitution does not trigger a "transfer penalty," so does not detrimentally impact eligibility for Medicaid to pay for nursing home care. See NYS Medicaid Reference Guide - Resources Chapter p. 441.
* The brochure also explains that EPIC, SCRIE, and other New York State-funded benefits, with no federal funding, do not count German reparations as income.
German Social Security
The above materials do not explain one particular type of German payment to victims of Nazi Germany -- German Social Security. While these payments are sometimes called a "pension," rather than reparations, in many cases they are exempt because they are a form of reparations. This article explains circumstances under which German Social Security is exempt. This Affidavit of Elihu Kover, Vice President for Nazi Victim Services at Selfhelp Community Services, further explains these rules.
Other Federal Benefits and Reparations -- A recent opinion letter from the Baltimore office of the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development, dated Jun 1, 2009, interprets the same exemption for Nazi reparations as it applies to an application by an elderly Holocaust survivor for Section 202 federally subsidized housing. She had purchased a house in 2004 with saved reparations. Under the usual rules, while the house would not disqualify her from being accepted as a tenant in Section 202 housing, interest on the house as an asset would normally be imputed to her. The opinion letter states that "reparation payments, their interest and assets, such as homes and bank accounts, should be excluded in calculating the income eligibility of Section 202 applicants." This letter might be useful for other federally funded benefits.
Taxes and Reparations -- See this Claims Conference webpage
Bank Fee Waivers and Reparations -- certain banks have agreed to waive wire transfer fees for electronic receipt of reparations.
Online Training -- Watch our online training on Holocaust reparations and Medicaid -- CLE credit available.
This article was authored by the Evelyn Frank Legal Resources Program of Selfhelp Community Services, Inc.