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If Mom has to move into assisted living, her transportation should be covered. Will I still be able to drive her car or will she be required to sell it to pay for care, based on Medicaid look back? At that point, can she just sell it to me at fair market value?

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I needed to add that Medicaid spend-down exempts things that are needed for maintenance and care of the person applying for Medicaid. If the car is to be used primarily for your own personal use, I don't know if it would be allowed. You ask a good question that I don't know the answer to.
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This sounds like a very if-fy situation to me, since your mother is already in a place where she does not need to drive. Medicaid recipients are allowed to have a car, but I am not sure if they could purchase one when they don't drive and are living in a place where they don't need to. I would get some professional advice on this one before proceeding. There may be some conditions that apply about when a car (or home or similar things) can be bought.
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I forgot to include: We live in the state of WA. Mom and I have lived together since 2001. She pays about $1000/mo for home care while I'm at work. She is at a point where we need to increase the hours of home care AND get a better car.
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Wow, you guys are great! Lots of good points to consider. Thanks.

If this is accurate, Medicaid will allow Mom to own an old car, even when she lives in a nursing home and doesn't drive. I will be allowed to drive the car. However, there will be no allowance for upkeep and title in her name alone, may be (probably will be) a problem with the insurance company.

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The mileage on the car is primarily for my work, not for taking Mom places, so I can imagine Medicaid would have a problem with that if I buy a newer car and have both our names on the title. I'm considering trading in our two old cars for a new car before they konk out completely. We're currently in "spend-down" mode and Mom doesn't qualify for Medicaid, yet. I was wondering if I can purchase a little bit better car using some of Mom's money. By the time she needs to sell assets, the depreciation on the car should be within my affordable range and I can "buy her out" of her half of the ownership.

Here is the story on the car(s): About 8 yrs ago, Mom and I put both our names on titles of both our older cars (1994, 1997), in order to bundle insurance with our home. Our house is owned jointly, too (JT on title with both names). I won't be able to afford the house on my own and will lose it, but that's a whole 'nuther problem.

I know she will be allowed to keep one car and her half of the house. Does this apply when she won't be returning to live in the house?
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Kansas here..Medicaid does allow for one vehicle. Mom had one when I first put her in the NH. It needed so much work that I traded it for another OLD car. Her name AND my name are on the title. This old car started having problems BIG TIME. It is what I use to take mom to all of her dr. appts, to visit relatives, outings to dance, etc. It's all she and I have together. I've always been the sole caregiver. Two siblings that live within minutes of mom have NEVER even called her OR me to ask how mom is doing. It's always been JUST me. My brother will help me fix a problem with the car IF I beg him and I ALWAYS help him ..right in there with wrenches, grease and all. Sister has NEVER and I repeat NEVER offered to even ASK if I needed help ..she has NEVER, EVER called to talk to mom. NEVER, EVER showed up at Christmas dinner at the NH OR mom's birthday OR Mother's Day. Brother has showed up twice in 6 years after me begging him. Brother was always mom's FAVORITE child. Sorry...I got off topic.
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I dont know where you live but in the state of california you are entitled to one car so if it is in her name , don't stress about it, personnal I did, i live in California and I have two cars that are 10 yrs old so what I did is gave one to my daughter in her name and the other I kept. The law in CA allows for 1car amongted other things like a house. feel free to contact me and I think I can give you a peace of mind....with the financials and your obligation, Im not a lawyer but Im a bookkeeper by trade and I know numbers, let alone the law, my spouse had a stroke in 2007 and Ive learned the loopholes if you will, and how to fill out paperwork ?
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Mom can "keep" the car and leave it titled in her name. Medicaid allows for 1 auto to be an exempt asset. Under Medicaid, they get $ 30 - 90 a month for their "personal needs allowance" and for most @ a NH that small amount of $ is just enough for the hair salon, cable or clothing replacement. There won't be $ for auto insurance, repairs, etc. You will have to pay for all that.

You should give some thought about issues that could happen if you are driving her car and there is an accident or it's stolen and if the auto insurance company will honor the policy.

If she "sells" it to you, then the $ from the sale is now $ that becomes an asset and their assets need to be about 2K - 2,200K max (the rate differs from state to state) so the $ you pay her for the car needs to be spent down to Medicaid asset level. If she "gifts" it to you, the Blue Book value of the car could be subject to a Medicaid transfer penalty. You need to figure out which way works best for you - if the car is worth very little or is worth several thousand $$. Title transfers are recorded by the state and the local tax assessor, so the sale or transfer will eventually come up and could be a red flag issue for Medicaid.
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If a person on Medicaid lives in assisted living, where all the rides are included, can that person's car still be driven by the daughter, without being considered a "gift"?
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Medicaid applicants are allowed to own a car and a house. They will not have monthly income to pay the upkeep, however.
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