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Long-Term Care

City of Tacoma Government Employee Long-Term Care Information

This web page pertains to City of Tacoma General Government and Tacoma Public Utility employees only. Citizens seeking information on this program should visit WA Cares Fund Website.

 

WA Cares Fund Overview

The WA Cares Fund is a mandatory long-term care insurance benefit established by Washington state law (Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Act) in 2019. The WA Cares Fund will be supported by a premium paid by employees only. Starting January 2025, these benefits may be used for a range of services, including professional care at home or at a licensed facility; training, pay and support for family members who provide care; memory care; home-delivered meals; rides to a health care provider; adaptive equipment and technology; home safety evaluation; and emergency alert devices.

WA Cares Mandatory Employee Payroll Deductions Begin January 1, 2022

The premium has been set by state law at 0.58% of gross wages, or $0.58 per $100.  For example, if an employee earns $50,000 annually, the total annual premium is $290 or $12.08 per paycheck. Unlike other payroll taxes, there is no cap on the wages subject to this tax.

WA Cares One-Time Premium (Opt-Out) Exemption Opportunity

State law allows you to apply for an individual exemption to opt-out of the State Long-Term Care program between October 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022. The exemption is only available if:

  • You have purchased long-term care insurance prior to November 1, 2021; and
  • You are 18 years of age or older on the date of your exemption application. 

To opt out of the State’s long-term care program, individuals must apply for an exemption through the Employment Security Department (ESD) website, wacaresfund.wa.gov between October 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022. Visit the “Exemptions” section of the website and complete an Exemption Application. Individuals will need to verify their identity and establish a SecureAccess Washington (SAW) account. Individuals may not need to provide a copy of their long-term care insurance policy at this time but may be required to provide it in the future. If approved, an individual’s exemption will be effective on the first day of the quarter immediately following approval.

 

An employee exempted from the WA Cares Fund premium by ESD is permanently ineligible from receiving benefits under the program and cannot rejoin the program at a later date. ESD will approve or deny a premium exemption based on criteria established in state law.

 

An employee who obtains an approved exemption from the ESD is required to provide written notification to all current and future employers of the exemption. ESD does not notify the City of your premium exemption. 

 

City employees must submit the exemption approval letter received from ESD to the City’s Benefits Office via email at benefits@cityoftacoma.org. If an employee fails to provide written notification of an approved, effective exemption to the Benefits Office, the City must collect and remit premiums to ESD.   

Exemption effective dates:  ESD has determined that a premium exemption is effective beginning the quarter immediately following ESD approval. If your ESD exemption letter is effective by January 1, 2022, and is received by the Benefits Office prior to January 1, 2022, you will be permanently exempt from paying any WA Cares premiums (payroll tax).


If your ESD exemption letter is received by the Benefits Office on or after January 1, 2022, the WA Cares premiums will be deducted from your pay beginning January 1, 2022.  You will not be entitled to a refund of any WA Cares premiums deducted before you have notified the Benefits Office and submitted an effective exemption letter from ESD.  (See the City of Tacoma FAQs on Long Term Care for more details)

 

WA Cares Benefit Amount

The program provides benefits of up to a $100 a day, up to a maximum lifetime benefit of $36,500 (adjusted annually for inflation).

 

WA Cares Program Eligibility

In order to be eligible for WA Cares Fund benefits, an employee must have worked and contributed to the fund for:

  • A total of 10 years without an interruption of five or more consecutive years; or
  • Three of the last six years at the time you apply for the WA Cares Fund benefit; and
  • Worked at least 500 hours per year. 

Additionally, to be eligible for benefits an employee must be at least 18 years old and a current resident of Washington.


More information
Visit the links under Employee Resources for more information.

 

This page will be updated with more information on the notification process when available.

 

Primary Contact

Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)

Email

  

City Contact

Benefits Office

Email

(253) 573-2345

  

Employee Resources

Opt-out of Washington State LTC 

 

WA Cares Fund Flyer

 

WA Cares Fund Website

 

DSHS LTSS Trust Act Flyer

 

DSHS LTSS Website

 

Employee Communications

Washington State LTC Legislation May 2021

 

Washington State LTC Legislation (Local 6) May 2021

 

Washington State LTC Legislation August 2021