ALTCS Community Spouse
Get the help you need from the ALTCS Experts at Senior Planning
What is a Community Spouse?
A community spouse is someone who is married to a person needing care, but does not need care him/herself. The Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) has strict income and asset limitations for hopeful applicants, but the amounts go up considerably when one spouse remains in the community. This is why they have specific application guidelines for married versus single applicants. For married couples, the amount of resources allowed is called the community spouse resource allowance.
How are the Asset Limits Determined?
The amount of allowable assets is determined by performing a spousal resource assessment, which essentially means an ALTCS caseworker totals up all of a couple’s assets and divides that amount by half. While seemingly simple, calculating the community spouse resource allowance (CSRA) is unfortunately more complicated than it looks at first glance.
If the community spouse’s half of the assets equal less than the Arizona minimum of $24,720, then they can increase their half share until the minimum is met. If the half share of the assets exceeds the maximum of $123,600, then the community spouse will not be able to keep half, but will instead have to spend down on qualified expenses until they are below the required threshold. That being said, there are ways beyond a simple spend down to become eligible for ALTCS.
Senior Planning can help with any of the following:1.) We can help convert countable assets into non-countable assets. ALTCS has a list of assets that do not render an applicant ineligible. See here for a brief list of non-countable assets. 2.) We can help you create a Medicaid annuity, which takes a lump sum and converts it into a source of income for the community spouse. This is generally the most popular and most desirable option. 3.) If you do choose to spend down, we can help document the Medicaid spend down to insure the spend down doesn’t get penalized when it comes time to apply.
Whatever option you choose, getting sound advice before proceeding with the ALTCS application is essential. You don’t want to mistakenly exhaust your resources when your savings could have been protected.
How Does Arizona Classify Assets?
Medicaid Long Term Care, known as ALTCS, classifies some assets as countable and others as non-countable. This means that some assets will be exempt from the ALTCS eligibility process while others will be counted during the time of application. In order to better understand if you or your loved one will qualify for the ALTCS benefit, give us a call today.
AHCCCS, ALTCS, and Medicaid
In Arizona, we call our Medicaid program AHCCCS, which stands for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. AHCCCS covers all age groups. For the elderly and disabled specifically, the program is run under the umbrella of AHCCCS, but is called ALTCS. This is why you’ve probably encountered multiple terms describing the same program. Also worth checking out is the SAIL program, which is the Senior Adult Independent Living program.