What you need to know about the WA Cares Fund
The Washington State Legislature established a long-term care insurance benefit for all eligible workers to address the future long-term care crisis. To fund it, Washington W-2 workers will pay up to $.58 per $100 of earnings, or in other words, $5.80 every $1,000 earned with no cap on wages. This includes stock-based compensation, bonuses, paid time off, severance, etc. This payroll tax is set to begin January 1st, 2022.
Beginning January 2025, each person who is eligible to receive the $100/day benefit can access services costing up to $36,500 if they need assistance with 3 activities of daily living (eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, mobility, continence, transfer assistance, and cognitive functioning). The benefit will be available to be used for a range of services and supports, such as:
- Professional personal care in your home, an assisted living facility, an adult family home or a nursing home
- Adaptive equipment and technology like hearing devices and medication reminder devices
- Home safety evaluations
- Training and support for paid and unpaid family members who provide care
- Home-delivered meals
- Care transition coordination
- Memory care
- Environmental modifications like wheelchair ramps
- Personal emergency response system
- Respite for family caregivers
- Dementia supports
- Education and consultation
Benefits are not available outside of Washington State and benefits only cover the employee who is contributing, not their family.
To qualify for benefits, you must have worked and contributed to the fund for:
- At least 10 years without a break of five or more years within those ten years, or
- Three of the last six years at the time you apply for the benefit, and
- At least 500 hours per year during those years
Exemptions are available and are permanent. To apply for an exemption, you must:
- Apply between Oct. 1, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2022 and be approved
- Be at least 18 years old
- Purchase a Long Term Care plan before Nov. 1, 2021. This includes:
- Long Term Care Insurance
- Universal Life Insurance with a Long Term Care rider
- Includes Index Universal and Variable Universal
- Fixed, Indexed and Variable Annuities with a Long Term Care benefit
- Self-Employed individuals are exempt from the program but may choose to opt in.
Not sure whether it makes sense to opt in or out? Contact us today to learn more about your options!