Class action money

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Another round of payments has gone out in the Skilled Healthcare nursing home settlement, potentially triggering fresh confusion over how to keep as much money as possible without losing government benefits.

Many people getting compensated for time they spent in understaffed nursing homes, including five homes in Humboldt County, receive disability or medical coverage that's only available to people with very few assets.

California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform has gotten worried questions from relatives or individuals who've received settlements as high as $50,000, although most of its inquiries involved lower amounts.

The group has a toll-free line, (800) 474-1116, to help people with individualized advice about how to handle the money.

The payments late last month averaged $5,591 per person, bringing the total distributed so far to $9.3 million, according to class action attorney Timothy Needham. One more distribution is planned.

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