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My grandmother is 96 and recently broke her hip. She has been at the hospital for 70 days and has been told she will no longer walk on her own.

Her total assets are $42,000 in a bank account. She has no debt, she rents, she does not own a car (can't drive) and she needs long term care. We would like to buy her a car to keep at the nursing home so we can drive her on errands or to the mall.

My understanding is that as long as the car is used for her, even though she's not driving it, it can be excluded from her eligibility calculation. Are there any restrictions on what type of car she can buy ?

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I was even told it would be questioned why we put $$ into modifying a vehicle that our family owned for wheelchair transport for my mom, but we did it because wheelchair taxi service was not real competent with tie downs to put it mildly as well as very expensive, and they did not even have dental care at the facility which my mom needed desperately, as well as eye and cardiac specialists, and for the few outside appointments they made they more often than not found they did not have transportation available that day. We did not get to use it for those outings for as long as I hoped, and then it maybe even reduced the value of the vehicle in the long run. I think you would end up being penalized for the $$ spent on the vehicle and the way they do that is divide the money by the monthly NH rate they paid for the number of months. You might be able to afford that but have someone do the math with you before you decide.
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andrewg777, let's say for example you are able to buy a car for your Grandmother.... would you be allowed to leave it at the nursing home or would they charge you a parking fee?.... plus, how often would that vehicle be used?

I am dealing with my parents car at their home. My parents no longer drive, so their car get used maybe once or twice a month. That requires my Dad going out to start the car every few days, or using a portable battery charger. Even with that, the other day the car wouldn't start when I needed to take my parents to an appointment :(
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LOL Medicaid won't go for this. Nice try.
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Thank you for your answer. I'm copying this and sending it to the rest of the family members. Our concern on the car side more was in part due to having a small Honda and Neon for her transport. If we ever want to take her out for lunch, stowing the wheel chair and getting her into the car is going to be tough.

But thank you regardless we don't want this to be challenged at all and maybe buying a very compact "travel" type wheel chair would be a better option.
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Medicaid although a joint state & federal program, is administered by each state uniquely. So you need to check with exactly what rules your state has for the one excluded from assets rule. Somes states are using the vehicle value limits that is set for SNAP or TANF as the threshold for elder NH autos as well as they can use those guidelines. Other states set an amount, my moms in TX and its 15K allowed for pre-owned to the application vehicle registered with the state.

Personally I think you could find the purchase of a car for a non driving NH resident who does not drive & cannot walk to be challenged by Medicaid as asset avoidance. If so, there will be a transfer penalty at the blue book value of the car assessed against grannie by Medicaid. Realize the transfer inquiry will likely come up after grannie is already at the NH Medicaid Pending. So as the NH won't be paid by Medicaid if a penalty happens, the NH will come after family to pay the bill for her stay & it could be at their much higher private pay rate.

Really a new car for a 96 yr old in a NH who cannot walk???

Also has anyone spoken with family as to the NH Medicaid residents required copay? This is called their SOC - share of cost. Basically all their monthly incomes less a small personal needs allowance MUST be paid to the NH. Grannie will not have any disposable income anymore ever. So any costs on the car, like gas, registration, taxes, insurance will need to be paid by others for the rest of grannies lifetime. Also you may find that insurance for it -as it is tied to the owner - may be quite expensive. If you are in an accident, the insurer may look into the situation and refuse to pay as grannie use & ownership of the car is a sham. Also upon her death, the car is an asset of her estate and the State can require it's value be paid to the state as per MERP before ownership transfer is allowed.

Really at 42K, spend down for things she will need: a prepaid NCV funeral & burial policy is a great spend down and totally ok by Medicaid - buy it know or family will have to pay out of pocket later; new hearing aids & a couple of new pair of eyeglasses are great for them to have as these go MIA in the NH; a new wardrobe suitable for the super hot laundry at the NH is another good spend down, if she is now bed fast her old clothing probably is not suited for this so someone will need to buy lots of new more accessible styles for her to wear. Another good spend down is a specialized wheelchair. The ones from Medicaid are as minimal & basic as can be. Wouldn't you rather have grannie in a super & accommodated wheelchair than with a car sitting in the parking lot of the NH?
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