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Best Law Firms - ALTCS and Long-Term Care Planning  

ALTCS and Long-Term Care Planning

Our Phoenix ALTCS planning attorneys guide families through the eligibility process for obtaining Medicaid long-term care and nursing home benefits.

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The Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) is essentially a Medicaid-based federal program, administered by the State of Arizona, that provides coverage to qualified individuals for medical expenses and nursing home care. An eligible person need not reside in an institutional setting to qualify for ALTCS, but they must be in need of an institutional level of care.

Frazer Ryan Goldberg & Arnold LLP is a 2018 Best Law Firms selectee for Elder Law (Metro Tier 1)

Eligibility criteria

For many individuals, meeting the eligibility criteria requires estate and asset planning, an area in which Frazer Ryan attorneys offer valuable experience.

ALTCS has three eligibility criteria:

  • medical need,

  • income eligibility, and

  • resource eligibility.

Medical need is determined by a "pre-admission screening" (PAS). This is a determination performed by an ALTCS nurse who visits with the applicant and reviews relevant medical information to determine whether the applicant meets the eligibility requirements for being in need of a level of institutional care.

With respect to income eligibility, in most cases only the income of the applicant will be used toward his or her share of cost. In other words, with some minor exceptions involving the method of calculating income, the amount of income received by the applicant's spouse is irrelevant to the eligibility determination.

Resources, on the other hand, are categorized as either "countable" or "non-countable" (exempt). Of those countable resources, the value of all countable resources will be considered, regardless of whether the resource is held in the name of the applicant or his or her spouse.

ALTCS Eligibility Guidelines for 2018

Below are the eligibility guidelines for qualifying for benefits through the Arizona Long Term Care System. These amounts are adjusted annually and coincide with federal law.


Only assets that are countable are reflected in these numbers.


Maximum Amount of Countable Assets for the ALTCS Applicant


Maximum Community Spouse Resource Allowance
Half of the couple’s Countable Assets, up to a maximum of $120,900


Minimum Community Spouse Resource Allowance
The amount of Countable Assets that the community spouse can retain even if it is more than half of the couple’s Countable Assets


Home Equity Limit
The net equity value of the applicant’s primary residence that is excluded as a countable resource




Monthly Income Limit for Individual
This is the maximum amount of income the ALTCS applicant is allowed to have without the use of an income trust.


Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance for Spouse
This is the minimum amount that the community spouse is assumed to need on a monthly basis to pay for his or her own living expenses; if the community spouse’s income is less than this amount, he or she can retain a portion of the applicant’s income before the applicant’s share of the cost of his or her care is calculated.


Maximum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance for Spouse
This is the maximum amount that the community spouse can retain each month, if he or she can document certain expenses.


Individual Personal Needs Allowance
This is the amount of the ALTCS applicant’s income that the applicant is allowed to retain for personal needs, before the share of the cost is calculated.




Marsha Goodman

Marsha Goodman's practice focuses on life care planning, to create continuity of care and an approach for navigating complex legal, insurance, long-term care, Medicare, VA and Social Security issues.

Jennifer Murphey

Jennifer Murphey is a skilled and passionate advocate for the elderly, disabled, mentally ill, and the families who care for those individuals.


ALTCS and Long-Term Care Articles

ALTCS Estate Recovery Methods and Exemptions

Are Irrevocable Living Trusts Useful in Qualifying for ALTCS?

Asset Transfers and Qualifying for ALTCS

Comparison of Eligibility and Benefits: VA Aid and Attendance vs. Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS)

Income Trusts and ALTCS Qualification

Long-Term Care: Medicaid (AHCCCS) and ALTCS Eligibility