New. Need help understanding assets

Discussion in 'Countable Income' started by peke, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. peke

    peke Newbie

    My father is 91. He was in regular Army and Army National Guard for 20 years. He was in the regular Army during WWII and Korean War, but was stateside so he was never in combat. He has had a glass eye since he was a child. He is currently living in an assisted living center/memory care unit since he has moderate to severe dementia.
    His military retirement and Social Security income totals $2700.00 per month. He uses Medicare and Tricare for medical needs and Tricare for all prescriptions, so his only expenses are the assisted living facility rent of $4000.00 per month and their extra charge for services monthly which is $1508.00. The services include giving medicine, checking blood pressure, helping with showers, etc. So total at the memory care unit is $5508.00 monthly.

    He has no home, but he does have a truck that he can no longer drive. I still pick him up for doctor appointments, outings, holidays, etc. In the last month he is unable to get into either his truck or my SUV due to how high off the ground the vehicles are. We want to sell his 2004 diesel quad cab truck which is really a truck for ranchers. We would like to buy a new crossover SUV so he can get in and out of it easily. A used car is out of the question since I drive two hours one way on mostly rural, two lane roads to get to his facility.

    Other assets: $106,000.00 annuity which was $109,000.00 just 17 days ago. It has a death benefit of 100,000.00. He also has about $195,000.00 in mutual funds. He has lost $27,000.00 this year so far. At age 91, his financial advisor/broker should not have dad's money in such risky equities. He has 85% of his money in equities/securities which make up the mutual funds and annuity. We will be selling them and be putting the money either in a money market account, savings account, or another annuity that is not as risky.

    I know the V.A. does not count the truck as an asset. If we use dad's used truck as a down payment and sell mutual funds to pay the balance of buying a new car outright, then the V.A. will not consider the new car as an asset. Am I right? We won't be applying for any V.A. benefits until his assets are much lower because he should not qualify financially right now.

    V.A. currently does not have a look-back period. But, if the law/rule changes, will selling the mutual funds and buying the new car be a problem?
    Will selling the rest of his assets to invest in annuities be a problem if the look-back rule becomes effective in the future? I know Medicaid goes back five years, but I doubt Dad will use Medicaid. He wants to go to an Oklahoma Veterans Home once his assets are low enough.

    From reading posts, annuities have me confused. Are annuities counted as assets or not? I know the dividends from annuities are counted as income.
    Are municipal bonds and mutual funds counted as assets? They are not stock, but can be sold like stock.
    Does Medicaid pay for Oklahoma Veterans Homes since they are part state and part federal?
    Dad has a savings account with $15,000.00 set aside for funeral expenses. It is P.O.D. (payable on death) to dad's three children so we will have access to the money for funeral expenses. This account should be listed as an asset too, right?
    Dad has two joint checking accounts with me as co-owner. I will list both as assets. Dad listed me as joint owner without my knowledge. I thought I was just a signer on the account. Do I need to remove my name as a joint owner?
    If look-back rule becomes effective, does V.A. have a problem with buying the new car?

    It is probably a good thing I am learning about everything early. Hopefully I will understand everything by the time Dad needs assistance from the V.A.
    Thank you in advance for any answers or advice.
  2. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member


    I know annuities, bonds, and mutual funds do count as assets so those will need to be included in the application.

    Also, because of your father's age, you can request the VA expedite the application.

    I hope that answers some of your questions. I believe vetadmin can help answer the rest.

    Thank you to your father for his service to our country.
  3. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    The car is a non-issue. as it does not count as an asset. What would make the most sense is to simply trade the car in with the new purchase as that way there would be no money exchanging hands. Even if you sell it privately, if that money goes right back into paying toward the new vehicle, a non-issue.

    The VA is going to make some changes at some point in 2016, but they have not been forthcoming with what those changes will be, so the 3--year look-back is still lurking in the shadows, but if they do implement it, it would not include the car, so take that off your list.

    We cannot answer questions on Medicaid as the laws vary from state to state, and what applies in one, does not in the other. I would say with your Dad's current assets, Medicaid is probably not in his future. That annuity is counted as an asset by Medicaid.

    Regarding the $15,000 set aside, you would be wise to go ahead and advance pay those final arrangements rather than having that money sitting there requiring an explanation and to be factored into this mix.

    i hope that all this gives you a better understanding.
    If Dad is not service-connected, you may find placing him in a VA nursing home to be a challenge. Those beds go to service-connected veterans.

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