Washington Retail hosted an informational webinar with guest speakers from ESD regarding the new WA Cares Fund long-term care tax on August 10, 2021
- Details about the WA Cares program
- Employers reporting responsibilities
- New mandatory employee payroll tax contribution
- November 1 opt-out deadline
What you need to know:
- The Washington State Legislature established a long-term care insurance benefit for all eligible workers to address the future long-term care crisis.
- The WA Cares Fund adds a premium tax of $0.58 per $100 of earnings which applies to the employee’s entire paycheck without a ceiling.
- Though the contribution rate is based on earnings, the lifetime maximum benefit of $36,500 with cost-of-living built-in is the same for all.
- The benefit is not portable from state to state. In other words, Washington state workers who move out of state or retire to a different state will not be able to access benefits regardless of the amount of their contribution.
- This program is solely funded by workers.
- Self-employed earners must opt-in for the WCF, the same exemption criteria the Family Leave Act, but there are time limitations.
- To be eligible to receive the benefit, you must meet specific qualifications of contribution and need.
- According to the American Council of Aging, the maximum lifetime benefit would last a Washingtonian less than four months in the average nursing home.
- Employers are responsible for communicating details of the program and process premiums on their behalf.
- Time is running short if you want to apply for an exemption from the WA Cares Fund, Washington State’s new long term care program.
- Due to HB 1323 passed earlier this year, only individuals who have purchased private LTC insurance by November 1, 2021 qualify for an exemption.