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My dad is 67 years old and has been a gardener his entire life. My mom used to have a home daycare business, but she died unexpectedly when she was 52 of a massive heart attack, and he obviously could not continue the business alone without her. It has been 12 years since her death and he has been able to live solely off of his gardening work during that time, and has no means to retire. He began taking social security at 62, and he plans on working until he passes, unfortunately. We somehow got him eligible for Medicaid even though he owns two vehicles, one of those vehicles is his work truck with gardening equipment. That truck is now giving him a lot of problems, and we will have to decide to put thousands of dollars into it for a new motor, or purchase a used truck. Of course, I will be helping him with either of these options since he does not have the funds. In an ideal world, I would like to buy him a good truck valued more than his old truck, but I don't want to jeopardize his Medicaid-Cal eligibility. I'm not sure what to do. Is our only option fixing up his old truck since it will not hit the books as a sale and subsequent purchase of a new truck? Can I buy a truck in my name that he drives everyday? We don't live together. Or do I need to put the truck in his name, and would that cause issues? He just had triple bypass surgery in May, and he will be having a pacemaker and defibrillator placed in a couple months. He really needs Medicaid more than anything. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks so much!

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Good grief. Back to the question about the truck.
You could probably buy a truck for yourself--you own it--and lease it to your dad for whatever amount he could pay. You would need to specify in the lease about who carries insurance. If he buys the insurance, it needs to name you as an additional insured.
You will have lease income and depreciation on the truck, so you will report that to IRS. Dad's payments to you will be an expense to him, so his income need not go over the Medicaid allowable amount. An additional tax benefit to this arrangement is that his lease payments are deductible against his self-employment income, which is used to compute SE taxes; however, the lease payments you receive from him are not self-employment income, so you don't have to pay SE taxes on that. And, if you charge him so small an amount that his payments don't even cover your depreciation expense and insurance, then you might have a net loss for tax purposes.
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If the vehicle is owned by you solely and he uses it for gardening business he will not be able to take depreciation on it as a business use on his schedule c when he files taxes. So no write off except mileage. There is more to take in than just Medicaid. Think this through.
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I must say, the entire "we're tired of the tax payer paying for etc" is such a very weak and very inaccurate argument. An argument that is always a clear indication of the age of the one/s using it for argument (Refers directly to my 50's 60's mindset statement made.) 

Perhaps open your minds to the chance that individuals of my age bracket are very well educated in what not only ours, but our elders taxes have paid for, and have paid into for many, many years. And one of the small-ways in which our tax dollars are spent (yes-you read correctly "small ways") just happen to be the very programs that are assisting them now. Meaning they have more than paid their right to use them.

 The very programs that run under "Medicaid have been funded by many, many of the very persons who are using the program now.
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... "Vegas-lady", if you find the governement to be an upstanding entity and all assitstance is on the up and up and your sweet little government only wants what it deserves and takes nothing more, we will need to stop conversating right here because you said "if in 'some situations the recipients assets are used to repay"... lol. Now that's funny...
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These government programs are way underused by the public as it is. Many more more people could be helped when they need it than apply. If, in some situations the recipient's assets are used to repay the government, well, so be it. The money is just replaced into the system to help the next person who needs it. Or maybe you think the taxpayers should cover it all without regard to the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program. Maybe that will change in the future. For now, this just help keeps your taxes down. The government is not waiting to gobble up your estate. If a person can't afford truck repairs how large do you think an estate they will want to try and protect from the public. Read an application for medical assistance and see if it doesn't explain how, in SOME situations, estate recovery will be attempted. Applicants agree to those terms....and are not tricked into anything. If someone is afraid that what they have while alive won't pass on to where they want it to go when they die because of Medicaid rules to save public tax dollars, then they do what it is they want.
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Aprilanne10, God bless you for helping your dad!
I fear that either buying him a truck or even providing him a truck of yours to use might be considered income to him that might disqualify him for Medicaid. Seems unfair, but Medicaid is not all about fairness.
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By law, one home and one car are exempt as long as they are used for the recipient. For instance, you must be living in the home and your vehicle must be example for medical transportation
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To"there is no try" ... in all due respect, You are incorrect. 
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Why not replace the truck with another truck in roughly the same condition that your dad's truck was back when he was ruled eligible, keep the value of the vehicle the same... i.e. just a few years newer.

Tired1of4, if he is driving the truck he is insured regardless of who owns it, BUT my insurance specifically outlaws any driving for a "business" - driving to and from, which I suppose a gardener does would be fine, but if it is filled with tools etc., it may disqualify it from your home auto insurance, legally it is insured, but if there is an accident, they could rightly withhold payment in that it is being used for a business.

Vegaslady, I would think MOW would cover the older person who can not afford to get out to eat as well as though who are homebound. Realistically "homebound" is a condition often created by lack of resources.

As far as making a trust, that sounds ideal, however, probably too much money.
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You sound like such a good person and have so much love for your dad. I understand him wanting to continue working. If he lived near me I would hire him on the spot to help with our gardening. I don't know the answer to any of your questions because we do not have Medicaid but it does sound like having a truck in good working order is important. Since the person you spoke with at Medicaid was so compassionate and understand, I'd ask the same questions to him / her.
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.... Get the truck, keep title and registration in your name, insure him, as well as yourself as drivers under "your" insurance for the truck. Nothing illegal about it. Medicade *cannot* count that as a gift, nor assets. If those steps are followed, at that point It's none of their business how he has transport.  

Personal advice; if his mind is strong and his body is capable to do as his mind directs, then his activities and zest for life/living come from his right to live as he wishes.  Let him live as he sees fit unless his status causes actual concern for his safety is proving otherwise (it already sounds you would tactfully handle that if need be)  ... Medicaid is not a life coach, to call on every thought as some may suggest, I believe as little known the better and only use as needed. Keep in mind they are there to do one thing, and that is to offer/(sell)services to perpetuate the governmental insurance, and they will push to get your father deeper into the system as fast as they can...so they begin to ask questions and they begin to suggest "programs and assistance's" .. what that means is the deeper he plunges into the system all of his assets will be stripped and become theirs, and his choices become their choices .. his 'freedom will no longer be his to control as it is now.... they then own him through the bait of  "but Medicade is free"... . To a prideful man such as your fathers sounds, It is not 'free, I assure you.  Let "absolute final necessity" be your/his decisions regarding Medicade. 
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If you are concerned about liability of having his 'new' truck in your name, then create and register the truck in the name of a trust. Then if any problems crop up, the only assets that are at risk are those of the trust, ie the truck.
I think that by keeping busy your dad is staying active and alive. If he stops being active I suspect he will lose the will to live.
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Sounds like the original issue has been resolved. Other comments...my understanding is that MOW (Meals on Wheels) is for people who are homebound (my dad was a volunteer delivery driver); Medicaid has some exemptions for vehicles that would allow someone to have more than one -such as transportation for a disabled person, or a vehicle used in their self employment. Good for your dad in continuing to be able to do what he wants.
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When my Dad's car was dying, I got my Dad a decent car. I didn't want my Dad driving around in something that could break down. Having a safe vehicle for him was important to me. Both for safety on the road, and no need to exacerbate a heart condition in a senior with a troubled car.

Disgustedtoo brings up a good point, which in all honesty I did not even think of at the time and may be something to consider.

Its a personal choice. He was cleared to drive, AND I had his driving skills retested by a licensed instructor. I wanted him to maintain as much independence as possible for as long as possible. It was good for him to keep busy.
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Beware putting a truck in your name for him to use. It sounds like a great idea, but if anything happens (accidents, esp with heart condition), you could be sued because the truck is in your name - every day in the news is a new lawsuit... If he has another vehicle, he would have insurance, so initial suit would go after his insurance, HOWEVER, lawyers can tag YOU as well to get more $
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I don't see why Dad can't drive "Your truck " for work. He does not even need to get rid of the old truck.
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Thank you! It has always been very difficult to reach anyone knowledgable in the medicaid office. We have to make appointments every time we need to speak to somebody about his situation, probably in part, because it is complex. Yes, he tries to be self sufficient and we have offered to have him come live with us, but he is holding out as long as possible. When the time comes, I will look into other programs such as Meals on Wheels if he does not come live with me. He is very able-bodied for the time being, and wants to continue gardening. I have tried to talk him into trying other things that are less labor intensive, but he is against trying anything new....out of fear and being risk adverse. I do realize that there will eventually be a time when he can no longer be a gardener, and that time will be here before we know it, but it will be a very reactive situation then when he is forced to do something different. It is frustrating for me as I've tried to help him, but he is strong willed and has all of his mental faculties so I respect his decisions. I know it will be particularly difficult later. In the meantime, we will see what we can do about his truck situation.
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Can you simply call his Medicaid case worker and ask what you have asked us? I don't think many Medicaid recipients own small businesses and I don't suppose the rules are widely known among the public. You are not trying to hide anything or be sneaky, so ask an expert!

His gardening business, in addition to giving him something to do, apparently supplements his SS just enough for him to get by, even though it is at a poverty level. If he didn't have that extra income, how could he get by? Food stamps? Meals on wheels? Other programs that help the impoverished? I say good for him for wanting to be as self-sufficient as possible. But you might want to start looking into other options, in case a time comes when his health does not allow him to continue to work.
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Thank you for the information. His doctor did clear him to drive. We disclosed to the Medicaid worker that he has two vehicles - we weren't trying to hide anything. I think she was able to lump it into his business expenses/assets, which is a failing business that legitimately keeps him under the poverty threshold. They kept asking him why he continues to work when it produces very little income after expenses, and he just said that he likes to work and keep active.  They somehow accounted for it.  I appreciate your feedback.  I will definitely keep that in mind.
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If he had a triple bypass and a pacemaker, California may not want him driving anymore. California requires MD's to report certain medical conditions. Your Dad should not be driving unless his MD has cleared him to drive.
Sooner or later Medi-Cal will find out that he has a business vehicle and his benefits will screech to a halt. One vehicle rule is federal law.
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