Considering ALTCS Benefits vs. VA Benefits

Arizona seniors and their families often require supplemental benefits to afford the high costs of long term care, such as the care provided at assisted living communities around the state. Two of the most popular supplemental benefits that people consider are the ALTCS program and VA Aid and Attendance. The ALTCS program is administered by the state of Arizona’s Medicaid program, AHCCCS.

The VA program is paid for by the Federal Government’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs. In order to be accepted into the VA Aid and Attendance benefit, you must be a veteran who served in uniformed service during a recognized period of wartime, or their spouse. Many Arizona seniors who have served our country are able to apply for both benefits. If you are in a situation where you might have to choose between them, there are a few different factors that you should be aware of.

ALTCS benefits are paid by the state of Arizona. They can be paid to a senior care community that you are living in currently or planning to move to in the future. However, not all communities accept ALTCS and many have additional restrictions that affect their ability to accept the program and can require things like miller trusts. For example, many communities stipulate that a prospective resident must live at their community for one year, paying privately, before the community will begin accepting the ALTCS program.

Other communities may only offer semi-private living areas to prospective residents who plan to use the ALTCS program to help pay for their living expenses. ALTCS also will take the majority of an applicant’s recurring monthly income to help pay their share of cost for the community. The upsides of ALTCS are that relative to the VA benefit, the program takes less time to get started with, and that you have some other options, such as paying a family member who is providing you care. ALTCS applications take between 45 and 90 days to process.

The other option that might be available is the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Aid and Attendance Benefit. In order to qualify for this benefit, either the veteran or their spouse must have served during a period of wartime. The aid and attendance benefit provides supplemental income for the family. However, in order to qualify, you or your loved one must already be receiving care. The Aid and Attendance benefit can also take a long time to begin paying on a claim (about 9 months). If you have further questions about the benefits, please consult Senior Planning’s agents for more details.

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