To be eligible for Medicaid long term care benefits in Arizona, known as Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS), to help pay for long term care such as home health, adult care home, assisted living, memory care, or skilled nursing applicant’s must meet citizenship, medical and financial criteria. This blog outlines the 2019 income and asset ALTCS limits. If you have “too much” income or assets to qualify, want to avoid estate recovery/liens by AHCCCS/ALTCS, need an Income Only Trust, or just need help with the application process we can help. Call us today if you want to learn how this valuable Medicaid benefit can help relieve financial burden, and provide you or your loved one with quality long term care services.

Income Limits:

Single person: not more than $2,313.00 gross per month.

Married person:  The applicant can meet the income eligibility requirement if the total income of both spouses does not exceed $4,626.00 gross per month; or the total income received by the applicant under his/her name does not exceed $2,313.00 gross per month.

If an applicant’s income exceeds $2,313.00 a month, but is less than the private pay rate established in the applicant’s residential geographic area in Arizona ($7,134.44 a month if they live in Maricopa, Pima, or Pinal county, or $6,307.44 a month if they live in any other county), he/she can use an “Income-Only Trust” (also known as a “Miller Trust”) to “fix” the income problem and meet income criteria. The Income Only Trust is a separate trust agreement that must be established in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 1396p(d)(4)(B).

Resource Limits:  Countable Assets, plus Exempt Assets

Countable Asset limits:

Single person: The applicant cannot have more than $2,000.00 in countable resources to qualify for ALTCS.

Married person:  The applicant’s spouse may retain half of the total countable resources of both spouses; except that the half retained cannot exceed the maximum of $126,420.00 and the spouse may keep a minimum of $25,284.00 even if half is less than $25,284.00.  In addition to the half that the spouse retains, the applicant is still permitted to retain $2,000.00 in resources.  Under most circumstances, if both spouses in a marriage are applicants then each is limited to $2,000.00 in resources.

Exempt Assets:

Single and Married persons:  Certain resources are considered excluded and therefore may be retained in addition to the countable resources.  In general, these resources include the following:

1.The primary residence, if the applicant and/or his spouse have an ownership interest in the property and the applicant states its his or her intent to return home, or if a spouse or dependent relative is living in the home. Note, a primary residence held in trust is countable for ALTCS purposes. An ALTCS applicant’s interest in home property may not exceed $585,000.00.

2.An automobile.

3.A burial fund of $1,500.00 for each spouse set up in a bank account and labeled as such, or as part of a prepaid burial plan. If the burial plan is funded by the irrevocable assignment of proceeds of a life insurance or annuity policy, there is no value limit to the plan as long as the proceeds assigned do not exceed the fair market value of the burial plan.

4. Burial plots for the applicant and spouse and members of immediate family of an unlimited value. The burial plot exclusion includes the cost of the headstone, casket, niche, burial container, opening and closing the grave and perpetual care.

5. Household goods and personal effects.

6. The combined cash value of all life insurance policies insuring any one individual with a combined face value that does not exceed $1,500.00.

7. The assets of a Special Needs Trust created and funded pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1396(p)(d)(4)(A) for the benefit of a disabled person under the age of 65 with his or her resources.

8. Medicaid compliant annuity. Caveat: you must seek legal advice regarding potential use of any annuity to preserve assets.

If you are considering ALTCS now or want to know more just in case of future need, call us to schedule an appointment. We can do everything from advance planning to crisis planning, including handling the ALTCS application for you. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as offering legal advice or creating an attorney client relationship between the reader and the author. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this document without seeking appropriate legal advice about your individual facts and circumstances from an attorney licensed in your state. Bivens and Associates, P.L.L.C. expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all information contained in this document.