The WA Cares Fund was adopted by the Legislature in 2019 and, after an 18-month delay, went into effect in July 2023. The program intends to give working Washingtonians access to long-term care coverage when they need it.
Workers contribute 0.58% of each paycheck during their working years to access a $36,500 lifetime benefit (adjusted annually for inflation) to help pay for long-term care services when needed. Workers began contributing to WA Cares on July 1, 2023, and benefits will become available on July 1, 2026. To access benefits, employees must meet a contribution requirement and requirements for care.
With the program going into effect in July, employees now contribute 0.58% of each paycheck to the program. Significantly, employers will report employees’ wages and pay premiums for WA Cares quarterly using the same process they currently use to report Paid Family and Medical Leave premiums. The reporting system for Paid Family and Medical Leave will be updated so that employers can report for both programs at the same time.
The first report and payment that includes WA Cares premiums will be due October 31, 2023, for July, August, and September 2023 payroll. Employers with no payroll expenses during a quarter will still need to submit that quarter’s report.
The following link, WA Cares FAQ, provides additional information for employees and employers on program requirements and benefits.