Can Mom receive Medicare benefits if she can still drive?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 15, 2016
Safe asked...

My mother receives Medicare benefits. She does not receive Medicad benefits. Is there any language in the Medicare rules that would prevent, restrict, or impact my mother from driving her car? If yes, please explain and provide reference location for the information. She has a valid drivers lisence and is fully capable of driving.

Thank You!

Expert Answers

Whether your mother has the right to drive is none of Medicare's concern. Legally, that's entirely between her and the department of motor vehicles in the state where she lives, based on that state's driving laws. Of course, it may be a matter of serious concern to family members when someone is licensed to drive but appears to have lost the ability to do so safely. And a person's doctor may certainly have a say in -- though no legal control over -- whether someone should drive. But Medicare itself plays no direct role in the decision about whether someone can drive.

The only way I can think of that there might be any connection between Medicare and driving is if your mother is receiving or seeking Medicare coverage for a medical service that would not be needed by someone who can and does drive. But it's even hard to think of examples where that might apply. Perhaps if she were receiving physical therapy for her legs or back based on an inability to use her legs, the fact that she was driving could cast doubt on whether she really needed that therapy. Or, if she were receiving Medicare coverage for home health care, one of the Medicare conditions for that coverage is that she be confined to her home; if she were actually driving during that time, that would certainly disqualify her from coverage, if Medicare learned of it. But even these examples are about a theoretical TEMPORARY connection between Medicare and driving. They do not change the basic fact that Medicare has no direct interest in or control over whether your mother drives.