Washington Cares Fund

Developmental Disabilities Administration

October 7, 2021

Washington Cares Fund

Starting January 2022, Washingtonians will begin making contributions into the WA Cares Fund. The WA Cares Fund is a new long-term care insurance benefit workers earn, like Social Security, that can help people stay in their own homes as they age.

“Most people don’t think about long-term care early in life and only start to consider it in their 50s or 60s, when it is more expensive,” said Ben Veghte, PhD, Director of the WA Cares Fund. “The WA Cares Fund offers affordable long-term care insurance to everyone, so that people at all income levels can afford long-term care when they need it.”

You can receive services and supports worth up to $36,500 (adjusted annually up to inflation)
over your lifetime. You choose how to use your benefits – for example, you can hire a homecare
aide, pay a family member, make home modifications, or receive care in a residential
setting or nursing home. Anyone who needs help with at least three activities of daily living, such
as eating, bathing, or toileting, who has met the vesting requirements below is eligible.

Please see this flyer below for more information on:

  • Contributions
  • Protecting your retirement savings
  • Key dates
  • Attend a live webinar

WA Cares Fund Exemptions and Private Insurance

Workers who hold existing private long-term care insurance or purchase a new private policy before Nov. 1, 2021, can apply for an exemption from WA Cares coverage. If approved, their exemption means they aren’t required to pay premiums and will be permanently excluded from WA Cares benefits.

To apply for a permanent exemption, workers must:

  • Have purchased a qualifying private long-term care insurance plan before Nov. 1, 2021.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Submit an exemption application to the Employment Security Department (ESD). Exemption applications will be available starting Oct. 1, 2021.

One of the reasons WA Cares coverage is affordable: your contributions to the plan stop when you retire. Private premiums are typically much more expensive not only annually but particularly over a lifetime because they must be paid until the policy holder dies or needs care, which can be difficult during periods of unemployment or child rearing, as well as on a fixed income throughout retirement.

Contact us for questions or feedback.