This article is a section taken from MA for People Who Are Age 65 or Older or People Who Are Blind or Have a Disability (MA-ABD), a part of the revisions and additions to the Minnesota Health Care Program Eligibility Policy Manual.

Automobiles and Other Vehicles Used for Transportation

An “automobile” means any registered or unregistered vehicle used for transportation. Vehicles used for transportation include but are not limited to cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles, animal-drawn vehicles, and even animals.

  • A temporarily broken down vehicle normally used for transportation meets the definition of an automobile.

The following vehicles do not meet the definition of an automobile:

  • A vehicle that has been junked
  • A vehicle used only as a recreational vehicle, such as a boat used on weekends for pleasure

The equity value of a vehicle that does not meet the definition of an automobile is a countable asset. In addition, the personal effects exclusion does not apply to such vehicles.

Verification of an Automobile

Verification of an automobile is not required if the household only reports one vehicle. If the household reports more than one vehicle, verification of the equity value of all vehicles is determined by using the trade-in value published in National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). If the NADA trade-in value results in excess assets the equity value must be verified.

Automobile Exclusion

The automobile exclusion allows the equity value of one automobile per household, regardless of value, to be completely excluded if the person or a member of the person’s household uses the automobile for transportation.

It is assumed someone in the household uses the automobile for transportation, absent evidence to the contrary.

Application of the Exclusion

When a person owns more than one automobile, the exclusion is applied as follows:

  • In the manner most advantageous to the recipient
  • To the automobile with the greatest equity value if the person owns more than one automobile for transportation of the person or a member of the person’s household.

The equity value of any automobile, other than the one wholly excluded, is a countable asset when:

  • the person is the owner; and
  • it cannot be excluded under another provision.

The value of the following is excluded:

  • An automobile used as the person’s principal place of residence, if a homestead is not already excluded
  • An automobile used for self-support or a Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS) plan

Equity Value of an Automobile

The equity value of an automobile is the price it can sell for on the open market to a private party, in the particular geographic area involved, minus any encumbrances.

The current National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) can be used to verify the average trade-in value. If the NADA value of a non-excluded vehicle puts the person over the program asset limit, the person may be contacted to see if there are encumbrances.

If the NADA value cannot be obtained or the person disputes the NADA value, the person must submit a written statement from a local automobile dealer to verify the current trade-in value.

Legal Citations

Minnesota Statutes, section 256B.056, subdivision 1a

CREDIT: The content of this post has been copied or adopted from the Minnesota Healthcare Programs Eligibility Policy Manual, originally published by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

This is also part of a series of posts on Minnesota Healthcare Eligibility Policies.