It’s wise to start ALTCS plans early

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In case you missed our latest Arizona Republic article in the weekly Seniors and the Law Column, it is written below. Our column runs every Saturday in select Arizona cities.

Q: As a widower, can you help me understand why it would help me to plan in advance for the ALTCS benefit, as opposed to simply applying for the benefit once I meet the resource requirement?  

That you are making this inquiry indicates you understand that single ALTCS applicants can have no more than $2,000 in available resources to qualify for the program.  You probably also understand that ALTCS penalizes applicants who make uncompensated transfers of assets, so your question really does raise a great point – If you can’t give assets away without penalty, then why not simply wait until you qualify naturally to apply for the program?

If ALTCS could really approve an application in a matter of days, then perhaps waiting until after you satisfied the resource requirement to investigate the benefit would not be such a bad approach.  In reality, though, ALTCS takes months, not days, to approve most ALTCS applications.  This means that if you were to wait until you were down to $2,000 before investigating ALTCS, you would be without the funds to pay for your care while the application processed.  Further, many applicants have unique issues that simply take time to resolve, and when funds are already gone it can be difficult to cover much-needed care while these issues are sorted out.

Without exception, the best approach is to start preparing for the ALTCS application before the funds are gone.  With careful planning, it is possible to arrange the circumstances so that care can be covered while the application processes, and while any potential issues are resolved.  In many instances, applicants are also able to preserve at least a portion of their resources along the way.  Without planning, however, it is all too often the case that family members are left to cover the bill.

Seniors and the Law is authored by the attorneys at JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law and addresses legal issues that arise for the elderly and their families.  Questions can be sent to firm@jacksonwhitelaw.com.

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