This post is included in our special blog series: Medicaid / ALTCS Terminology. View the whole series.
The term “spend down” is used to help Medicaid / ALTCS applicants qualify financially for the benefits. ALTCS often denies benefits to applicants who have too many resources. If an applicant is denied Medicaid benefits because they have too many resources financially, they can often “spend down” and reapply later. If you are single, this means that you can have no more than $2,000 in countable assets. If you are married and applying for Arizona Medicaid with your spouse you can have no more than $3,000 in countable assets.
Applicants can sometimes spend their extra countable resources on certain exempt resources. This is called spending down. Applicants cannot give away extra resources in an effort to be eligible for ALTCS. ALTCS look back as far as five years to check for gift giving. Arizona Medicaid wants to be sure the applicant spends their money on their own needs, rather than giving it to family or friends.
What are ALTCS spend down exemptions?
- prepaid funeral plans
- care needs the applicant might have, paying for care is always allowable
- personal items needed, i.e. clothing, depends, over the counter medications … we have even heard of folks spending down on a new television
- legal fees, including ALTCS Planning Attorneys
The most important tip to remember is you cannot give your money away. Spend down can be complicated because in some situations, you may be told that you need to spend down a certain amount but after careful legal review, it may be that you do not.
Getting good legal advice before you proceed with the Arizona Medicaid application might be your best option before you “spend down.” The last thing you would want to do is spend down more than you have to.
Let the professionals at JacksonWhite Elder Law walk you through your necessary spend down amounts so you or your loved one can become eligible for the ALTCS / Arizona Medicaid benefit.