DECEMBER 25, 1995 VOLUME 3, NUMBER 26
In 1996, nursing home residents will be permitted to earn up to $1410 per month and still qualify for subsidized care through the Arizona Long Term Care System. That is the most significant of a collection of new eligibility and program numbers now available for next calendar year.
Some of the new numbers, and the significance of each:
Income Cap--the income eligibility cap for ALTCS will increase from 1995's $1,374 to $1,410 per month. This figure is three times the maximum Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit available from the federal government; that benefit increases to $470 with January benefit checks.
The importance of the Income Cap has diminished in the past two years with the advent of "Miller" Trusts. Anyone with income in excess of the eligibility amount can be made eligible by the simple expedient of creating such a trust (but see the discussion below for those with even higher incomes).
Average Cost of Care--the calculation of the average cost of nursing home care in Pima, Maricopa and Pinal Counties increases to $2,651.42. Gifts made by ALTCS applicants within the three years before application must be divided by this figure to determine the number of months of ineligibility caused by the transfer. In addition, under current ALTCS rules, individuals with income over this amount will be unable to establish "Miller" Trusts to secure eligibility.
In counties outside the urban center of Arizona, the Average Cost of Care will increase to $2,530.67. Both new numbers are increases of more than $100 per month. Neither new number should be confused with the real cost of nursing home care in the community.
CSRD--both the maximum and minimum "Community Spouse Resource Deduction" will increase as well. Couples with less than $15,348 in available assets will be allowed to keep all their resources and still qualify for ALTCS eligibility. Couples with more than $76,740 will be permitted to keep only half of that (or $38,370). The bottom number is an increase of about $400; the cap reflects an increase of almost $2,000.
Other figures, including the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance of $1,254 and the Maximum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance of $1,919 will be updated on July 1.
1996 ALTCS Eligibility Figures
Income Cap $1,410
Asset Limitation* $2,000
Personal Needs Allowance $70.50/mo.
Minimum CSRD $15,348
Maximum CSRD $76,740
Minimum MMNA* $1,254
Maximum MMNA* $1,919
Average Cost of Care (Pima, Maricopa, Pinal) $2,651.42
Average Cost of Care (All other Counties) $2,530.67
Burial Limitation* $1,500
Lookback Period 36 months (Until 8/10/96 30 mos)
Lookback (Trusts) 60 months