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Washington State: Cares Fund

For those of you living (and working) in Washington state, the below offers information on a new payroll tax beginning next month. The below information is taken directly from a newsletter I received on this topic. If you live outside of Washington- my educated guess is this type of program will soon be nationwide.

Delayed program to take effect-Taxes begin next month.

The Washington Cares Fund program – and its payroll tax – is scheduled to go into effect in July. In accordance with the law, Washington state will be requiring workers to pay into its long-term care program regardless of whether they will receive benefits from it. This mandatory long-term care program has a maximum lifetime benefit of $36,500. It is funded by a .58% payroll tax, which amounts to $5.80 for every $1,000 of earnings. Several bills have been introduced to repeal or replace the suspended law and requests have been made to the governor to terminate it, but no agreement was reached by the Legislature. Some adjustments were made to officially delay the program during the 2022 session but, unless terminated by the state in a future legislative session, the payroll tax will remain in effect to generate revenues for the program. 

What is funded by the program?

The long-term care program is available to any Washington state resident over the age of 18 who has paid the payroll tax premium for at least three of the last six years or for a total of 10 years, with at least five years paid without interruption. The program has a maximum lifetime benefit of $36,500 and people qualify if they need assistance with at least three of the following daily activities: medication management, personal hygiene, eating, toileting, cognitive functioning, transfer assistance, body care, bathing, ambulation/mobility, and dressing. The Washington State Employment Security Department will help implement the tax collection. People can apply for an exemption through the department if they have purchased long-term care insurance through a private provider by November 1, 2021. I anticipate that the program will be adjusted over time, which could mean that the benefits and taxes could increase.

For more information here is the link to the website.  You are also welcome to reach out to me for individual questions.

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