Grandma Gertrude had a stroke last year and will need ongoing assistance with her activities of daily living but is low on funds from paying her adult care home expenses. In fact, you have run the numbers and she will be bankrupt in a year. Who will pay for her care then?

Your spouse John was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago and his care needs have been increasing due to short term memory loss and confusion. In planning ahead, you have priced the cost of home health ($25/hour) and memory care placement ($5,000- $6,000/month) and are concerned about how you will be able to afford the care he will need. Will you be able to preserve any of your estate? How will you pay both your bills and his? 

What can you do? Who can help you? Who has the right answers?

Elder law attorneys often work with clients in determining how seniors and persons with disabilities can preserve their assets, qualify for long-term care public benefits, and obtain the quality care they deserve. When it comes to paying for long term care there are only three potential sources of long-term care funding: (1) personal income and assets; (2) long term care investments or insurance policies; and (3) government (public) benefits (e.g., VA Aid & Attendance Pension or Arizona Long Term Care System benefits). 

Arizona Long Term Care System (“ALTCS”) is a Medicaid program, administered through the State of Arizona’s AHCCCS program.  ALTCS will pay for the cost of various long term care services who meet the following criteria:

  1. U.S. Citizen or qualified Alien;
  2. Hold a valid Social Security Number;
  3. Arizona resident;
  4. Must apply for all other potential benefits, such as pensions or VA benefits;
  5. Meet the medical criteria, and;
  6. Meet the financial (income and resource) criteria.

If the applicant is determined eligible, ALTCS’ available services including the following:

  • Attendant Care
  • Adult Day Care Programs
  • Behavioral Health Services
  • Habilitation Services
  • Home Health Care 
  • Home Modification (if medically necessary)
  • Non-Emergency Transportation (if medically necessary)
  • Respite Care (up to 600 hours per year)
  • Support Coordination
  • Therapies (occupational, physical, speech)
  • Assisted Living (Adult Care Home, Assisted Living, or Memory Care)
  • Skilled Nursing Home 

It is important to know that the ALTCS program has very stringent eligibility criteria, look-back and transfer penalty rules, lien and estate recovery rights, and the application process can take many arduous months. If you or someone you know is concerned about affording long-term care, advice and assistance from an elder law attorney can make a significant difference in your ability to not only prepare for and qualify for ALTCS benefits, but also protect and preserve assets as part of the planning process to achieve best personal and financial outcomes. By working with an elder law attorney, you will know where you stand and how you can “make it” financially while also getting the care you or your loved one needs.  

Whether you or someone you know is already in financial crisis and paying out-of-pocket for long term care costs, or whether you want to engage in advance planning it is the elder law attorney that has the answers and experience you need.  For example, with advance planning the elder law attorney may include specific provisions in your financial power of attorney and/or trust now to preserve use of all potential asset protection planning strategies in case ALTCS would be beneficial at a later date. Depending upon circumstances, a strategic gift/transfer of assets might be desired as part of advance long-term care planning.  In crisis planning situations it is likely that social workers or others who work in the senior care industry may give advice or even offer to help you apply for ALTCS benefits. However, these well-meaning individuals do not have the legal knowledge, experience or time required to develop the best asset protection plan and most effective application strategy for you. ALTCS planning is highly individualized for the reason every situation is different.  All long-term care planning options in light of federal and state laws must be fully understood, legal, appropriate, and in your best interests- the elder law attorney can give you the real answers you need to make the best decisions. 

For detailed information regarding ALTCS benefits, the financial and medical criteria, and what steps you or your loved one can take to qualify now or how to plan for the “just in case”, call our office at 480-922-1010 or email info@bivenslaw.com to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced elder law attorneys. We have helped hundreds of clients like you to preserve assets, qualify for ALTCS benefits, and have their care needs met.