ALTCS Q&A: Married Keeping Separate Finances

Question: “The hospice social worker recommended that I look into Arizona Long-Term Care System (ALTCS) for my husband. This is a second marriage for both of us and we have always kept our finances separate. How can I protect myself and still get him the coverage that he needs to pay for his care?”

Answer: This is a very common concern that we hear at JacksonWhite while conducting our pre-screen benefit eligibility assessments. As with every major life decision we make, there are privileges and responsibilities that go along with it. Marriage is no exception. Arizona is a community property state, which essentially means that when married, what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine. When the State is determining countable resources or assets for married couples, they make no differentiation between the husband’s assets and the wife’s assets. They are counted together regardless of whose name is on which account.

As it relates to the question above, by being married, the wife cannot hold back her assets from being considered by the State. They will count along with her husband’s in determining how much money the couple may or may not need to spend down in order for the husband to qualify for ALTCS. On the flip side, marriage offers certain privileges which off-set the responsibilities when it comes to ALTCS. Spousal anti-impoverishment laws are in full force to protect the well-spouse, or the wife in this scenario. ALTCS eligibility requires that a married couple’s countable resources are divided in half. The well-spouse keeps their half and the ill-spouse spends their half down to $2,000. The anti-impoverishment laws allow the well spouse to maintain more than the “half” if proper planning is done.

 Every couple’s financial situation is different and there is no cookie cutter approach to ALTCS financial eligibility. It is important to note that there are exceptions and rules when determining the amount of assets that are considered countable resources. The Elder Law team at JacksonWhite is here to support you in navigating your options for long-term care before you apply for ALTCS. Give us a call at 1-800-243-1160 for a free pre-screen or visit http://www.MyALTCS.com and use the quick calculator to get started on your road to ALTCS approval!

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