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Are you wondering how to pay for long-term care in Arizona? It’s no secret that healthcare is expensive in the United States. Thankfully, there are both federal and state programs in place to help with this. Long-term care services are available in the state through ALTCS (the Arizona Long-Term Care System).
This program offers services at no cost or for low rates, to those who are medically and financially eligible and have a developmental disability, are disabled, blind, or aged.
This system is available in all Arizona counties. You can begin your application by calling the ALTCS office in your area, then a social worker will conduct an assessment of you to figure out what kind of care you need.
Many people prefer to work with an attorney during this process. Navigating the application for ALTCS assistance can be tricky, so it’s important to understand as much as you can about it before you apply.
Long-Term Care in Arizona
- You can get assistance for long-term care through ALTCS in Arizona
- The program doesn’t count certain resources towards your assets, such as your household
- To qualify, you must meet the financial and non-financial requirements
- Even if you don’t meet the financial requirements, an attorney may be able to help you change that
If you qualify for ALTCS benefits, you’ll work with a case manager to develop a care plan that fits your needs. This care often involves institutional care (like assisted living), community and home-based services (a mix of in-patient and out-patient medical attention).
You also may get help with doctor’s office visit costs and prescriptions along with other medical services, wellness and preventative care for children, hospice services, and behavioral health assistance.
Eligibility Requirements for ALTCS
In order to qualify for care, you must need nursing home level medical attention according to AHCCCS standards. You need to be either a qualified immigrant or a citizen of the United States, live in Arizona, have (or apply for) a Social Security number, and apply for VA benefits, pensions, or any other cash benefits you might be eligible for.
In addition to these qualifications, you also must live in your own home, an AHCCCS-approved assisted living or nursing facility, or an otherwise qualified living arrangement according to AHCCCS rules.
If you’re a single applicant looking for help to pay for long-term care services in Arizona, you can’t have over $2,000 worth of countable resources. If you’re in a legal marriage, and your spouse isn’t currently living at a medical facility, you might be able to dedicate some of your resources to their needs.
Married applicants must fill out a Community Spouse Information Sheet during the application process.
There are some resources that don’t count towards your assets, such as a single vehicle, your household (if it’s not in a trust) and one vehicle (extra vehicles beyond that will count). They also won’t count $1,500 set aside for your burial costs and burial arrangements such as a burial plot and related plans.
AHCCCS will count non-exempt vehicles, stocks, certificates of deposit, investments like bonds, cash, and real property that you aren’t living in.
In addition, they’ll count disability pensions, retirement funds, Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, and your wages, along with any credit union, checking, or savings accounts.
Income Requirements for ALTCS
As of January 2019, the monthly income limit for ALTCS is $2,313 for a single applicant. Married applicants should use a Community Spouse Information sheet for their application. If you’re determined eligible, an ALTCS associate will calculate your Share of Cost (meaning the amount you’ll have to pay for your community-based, home-based, or nursing care needs).
If you earn above the limit, you might still be able to receive benefits by using a Miller Trust. Just keep in mind that the trust must comply with all necessary standards to work for this purpose. Asking an attorney to help you is one way to ensure that it meets the necessary standards and will also increase your odds of approval in general.
How Working With an Attorney Can Help
Every year, many applicants for ALTCS are turned away for their long-term coverage needs. Oftentimes, this is because they made simple mistakes during the application process. Having an Elder Law attorney on your side is a great way to increase your chances of getting approved for ALTCS benefits. They can help you meet the financial requirements by “spending down” on care and answer your questions through the process.
FAQs About Long-Term Care in Arizona
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding long-term care assistance in Arizona:
Q: What are the steps for applying for ALTCS?
You can call the ALTCS office in your area to begin your application. Once you have the application, fill it out (or have someone do so on your behalf). You’ll have to provide proof of your non-financial and financial eligibility requirements. An AHCCCS-approved professional will also need to determine that you’re in need of nursing home level medical assistance.
Q: Is ALTCS only for nursing facility care?
While skilled nursing care is covered by ALTCS and many use it for that reason, the program also covers many other services, such as home healthcare, assisted living, and adult day care.
Q: How does the program determine my medical eligibility?
If you’re determined financially eligible for ALTCS benefits, a social worker or registered nurse will conduct an interview with you in person to determine your medical eligibility. In addition to nursing facility level care, you may qualify by having a risk of needing institutional care for an intellectual disability.
What to Do if You Need Help With Long Term Care in Arizona
Many people almost qualify for benefits but have income that slightly exceeds the limit for eligibility. If you’re in this situation and want to set up a special trust that may take care of this issue, working with a legal professional is a safe way to ensure you do it correctly. If you need help navigating the ALTCS process, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our skilled and experienced Elder Law attorneys.
Need Help Applying for ALTCS in Arizona?
If you need help setting up Medicaid, speaking with a lawyer is a good place to start. The application process itself can be complex and confusing, and making mistakes can set you back in attaining benefits and services. If your situation is complicated or you need help meeting the eligibility requirements, one of our attorneys can answer your questions.
Call the JacksonWhite ALTCS team at (480)467-4337 to discuss your case today.
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