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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.

 

 LTC Timelime

 

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 July 2026, 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 July 1, 2023

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, while an employee earning $150,000 would contribute $870 annually. Unlike other payroll taxes, there is no cap on the wages subject to this tax.

 

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).  Individuals born before January 1968 can earn a partial benefit of 10% of the full benefit amount for each year they worked at least 500 hours.

 

WA Cares Program Eligibility

In order to be eligible for WA Cares Fund for full benefits, an individual 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. 

In order to be eligible for WA Cares Fund partial benefits, an individual must have been born before January 1968 and worked and contributed to the fund for at least one year for 500 hours. 

 

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

 

Exemption Options for the WA Cares Program:

 

Private Insurance One-Time Premium (Opt-Out)

State law provided for an individual exemption to 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. 
  • You apply for an exemption through the Employment Security Department (ESD) Website wacaresfund.wa.gov between October 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022.

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.

 

New Exemption Options Coming January 1, 2023

Certain workers who would unlikely qualify or use their benefits can request an exemption starting on January 1, 2023:

  • Workers who live out of state, workers on non-immigrant visas, and military spouses can be granted a conditional exemption*
  • Veterans with a 70% or higher service-connected disability can choose to permanently opt out of the program

*Workers with these exemptions will begin contributing to the State program if their situation changes and they no longer qualify for an exemption. They are required to notify their employer and ESD within 90 days of no longer qualifying. Failure to do so will require paying unpaid premiums and assessed interest.

 

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.   


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

 

Long Term Care Tax Implementation Delay