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Guidance: Economic Impact Payments to Ohioans with Disabilities

Congress recently passed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, authorizing economic impact payments to many Americans in the form of tax credits. 

The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) advises against county boards of developmental disabilities recouping the economic impact payments, made to people with developmental disabilities, for payment of past room and board.

Although OAC 5123:2-3-11, permits county boards to “recoup earned income and unearned income received by an individual from a non-routine event (e.g., social security back payment, tax refund, or inheritance) for payment of past room and board,” the payments are intended to provide emergency relief to Americans. Recoupment of the economic impact payments is inconsistent with other provisions of the CARES Act and Ohio law. 

The CARES Act specifically prohibits the government from withholding most federal and state debts from the economic impact payments. 

Additionally, Ohio law protects “a payment in compensation for loss of future earnings of the person or an individual of whom the person is or was a dependent” from attachment, garnishment, and execution (ORC 2329.66(A)(12)(d)). The Ohio Attorney General determined that economic impact payments under the CARES Act are exempt from debt collection efforts under this law. Read Ohio Attorney General guidance

To ensure consistency with federal and state law, DODD recommends that county boards do not attempt to recoup the economic impact payments so the funds can be used to support people with developmental disabilities as intended.