WHAT IS ALTCS? Arizona Long Term Care System (“ALTCS”) is part of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (“AHCCCS”), Arizona’s state program that implements the Federal Medicaid program.   The ALTCS program provides acute and long-term care services for persons who are elderly (over age 65), physically disabled or developmentally disabled.

WHAT DOES ALTCS COVER?  ALTCS covers acute medical, skilled nursing, assisted living, home health, behavioral health services, home and community-based services, and case management services to all eligible persons.

WHAT IS THE ALTCS ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA? Eligibility for ALTCS (Medicaid) is needs based. Applicants must be medically and financially needy to qualify for benefits.  To meet financial criteria, an unmarried applicant must have less than $2,349.00 in gross monthly income from all sources combined; and, must have less than $2,000.00 in total countable resources (assets).

WHAT IS THE FEDERAL STIMULUS CHECK? On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, became law.  The CARES Act is a $2 trillion stimulus package, the largest emergency relief bill in American history.

Part of that package is one-time cash payments of up to $1,200 to Americans who qualify. An extra $1,200 is always welcome.  However, those individuals receiving ALTCS benefits may be rightfully concerned about how this payment will affect their ALTCS benefits.

DOES THE FEDERAL STIMULUS CHECK COUNT AS “INCOME” TO THE RECIPIENT IN THE MONTH RECEIVED?  No.  The stimulus check will not count as income to the recipient in the month received.  In other words, receiving the check will not affect the individual’s countable income for ALTCS purposes.

DOES THE FEDERAL STIMULUS CHECK COUNT AS A “COUNTABLE RESOURCE” IF NOT ENTIRELY SPENT IN THE FIRST 30 DAYS? No. ALTCS will treat the stimulus payment as “unspent income” exempt for up to twelve months.  This means that an individual receiving ALTCS does not need to spend the full amount of the check within the same month it is received.  All or part of the payment may be kept in the individual’s bank account and will not count towards the individual’s $2,000.00 countable resource limit for up to twelve months.

Applying for ALTCS benefits may be a lengthy and complex process involving many legal issues.  If you are planning to apply for ALTCS for yourself or a loved one, consult with one of our knowledgeable elder law attorneys today.

*This article is for general information purposes only and does not provide specific legal advice.  Contact an attorney or your ALTCS eligibility specialist with any specific questions or concerns.

Megan Selvey, Esq.