Mom is going into nursing home, can dad buy a truck now and mom still qualify for medicaid?

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their home is only worth 50,000 and they have 20,000 in bank and ira's. his truck is 20 years old and 200,000 miles on it and he really could use a newer more reliable truck. I wouldn't want to go across town in it. can he get newer truck, say maybe spend about $7,000 and not mess up medicaid? they owe about 3,000 on funeral plans it appears to me they can pay those off with the money they have.

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For Medicaid your dad would be considered the "community spouse" and he does not have to become impoverished in order for your mom to qualify financially for Medicaid. In most states, the community spouse is allowed to have about 109K in non exempt assets and your dad is well below that. The rules when there is a still @ home spouse can get rather sticky...like for example, if he is dependent on her retirement income and her SS check in addition to his SS check in order to make ends meet, then he would qualify for a "monthly maintenance allowance" that is $ from mom's income that doesn't have to go to the NH (for the Medicaid co-pay). The monthly maintenance seems to run about $ 800 in most states, which might not be enough for dad if he still has a mortgage and car note to pay in addition to other monthly expenses. Often the still @ home spouse has to go through an appeal process to get the amount increased as some states have the amount low.

I think his getting a new truck is an excellent way to use their funds. Under Medicaid rules, couples are allowed 1 vehicle as a exempt asset, so you are best off getting one that is newer and more reliable. What some couples do if they each have a car is trade both of them in against a single newer vehicle and that get's around any transfer penalty being incurred from Medicaid. (like if they gave 1 of their 2 cars to a family member as a gift, then it can have a transfer penalty for doing that).

One thing you want to think about is IF they have a life insurance policy that names each other as their beneficiary. Most couples tend to do this and it can be a problem for Medicaid IF the not in the NH spouse dies and then the in the NH on Medicaid spouse "inherits" the $ from the life insurance policy which then takes her beyond the 2K in assets allowed under Medicaid. They can get the beneficiary changed or perhaps have the beneficiary $ named to a special needs trust for them so that get's around them getting the $ being counted as an asset. You really need an elder law attorney to do these so there is no issue later on and so that it meets the specifics of your state law. Good luck and get that truck!
If there is still a loan on the new car, can some of the Medicaid patient's money be used to pay the loan pmt (if their name is on the loan, or course)?
Ggal1 - my understanding is that one (1) car is an exempt asset under Medicaid rules....BUT the sticky part is if they are on NH Medicaid is that there will be no real income to pay the car note. For an individual getting NH Medicaid, they are expected to have all their monthly income paid to the NH less whatever your state has set as their monthly personal needs allowance. The PNA seems to run between $ 30 - 90 a month depending on the state. And is really designed to pay for things that Medicaid doesn't, like cable or hairdresser or barber or replacement clothing. Say they get 1K in retirement and 800 in SS, so monthly income is 1,800 and your state has a 60 PNA, so every month they have to pay $ 1,740 to the NH in order to comply with the required Medicaid income co-pay. So there is no real $ to pay for car note, insurance, gas, etc. Same holds true if there is a house.

For couples, with 1 in the NH and 1 as the community spouse, it's different as the spouse doesn't have to be impoverished for the other to be in NH on Medicaid so there should be income to pay for car note.

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