About the WA Cares Fund

WA Cares Fund provides working Washingtonians a way to earn access to long-term care benefits that will be available to eligible individuals when they need them.

Why Does the Fund Exist?

70% of Washingtonians will eventually need long-term services and supports – help with activities of daily living like bathing, eating, and taking medications. Long-term care can be expensive. Most of it is not covered by Medicare or health insurance, and Medicaid only covers it after you’ve spent your life savings down to $2,000.


WA Cares Fund provides working Washingtonians a way to earn access to long-term care benefits that will be available when they need them. It will cover most of the need for some people, while for others it will provide breathing room during one of life’s most challenging stages, giving the family time to develop a plan. 

older man standing by the lake fishing with young girl

WA Cares: working together to support and care for Washingtonians


Working Washingtonians will contribute to a shared fund which will be accessible only to those who have contributed, meet the requirements, and need care in Washington state.

I contribute for my own benefit...


The vast majority of Washingtonians who contribute to the fund will earn benefits that exceed the amount they’ve contributed. In order to contribute more than you earn in benefits, your income would have to exceed $210,000 on average for 30 years. 

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family gathered around a campfire

...and for the betterment of my community


Your contributions to the WA Cares Fund will make it much easier for you and your loved ones to age with dignity and independence, supporting all of our families when we need it most.


WA Cares will help more family caregivers stay in the workforce, maintain financial stability and avoid burnout. The fund will also prepare our communities to be more resilient during the coming age wave. Without WA Cares, in the coming decades the shrinking share of working-age Washingtonians will be challenged to adequately care for a growing number of aging loved ones.

The Fund Timeline

The WA Cares Fund is a first-in-the-nation program created by the state legislature in 2019. WA Cares is the result of years of research on how to make long-term care affordable for working Washingtonians. 


Experts explore ways to cover all Washingtonians at affordable premium and land on universal public insurance program


Governor Inslee signs the LTSS Trust Act into law


Legislature improves coverage for adults with disabilities that onset prior to age 18


Legislature provides pathway to partial benefits for near-retirees and establishes voluntary exemptions for certain groups (out-of-state workers, workers on non-immigrant visas, military spouses, and veterans 70%+ disabled) 


Learn more: 
Who is exempt from contributions?


January: Exemption applications available for certain groups


July: Workers begin contributing


July: Benefits become available for qualified, eligible individuals


See how the fund works

Commission & Board

The Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Trust Commission and the Washington State Investment Board are working to ensure the success of the WA Cares Fund.

Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Commission


The WA Cares Fund is overseen by the LTSS Trust Commission which is made up of legislators, the heads of the administering agencies, and key stakeholder representatives. 


The Commission makes recommendations to the legislature each year designed to continuously improve the program. The recommendations are guided by the goals of maintaining both benefit adequacy and fund solvency and sustainability.


Learn more about the LTSS Trust Commission and see the public meeting schedule.


State Investment Board 


The Washington State Investment Board invests and manages the assets in the WA Cares Trust Fund.

WA Cares is an innovative program that will give Washington workers access to affordable long-term care as they age. The Commission ensures we are listening to the public as we improve and refine this program.

Administering Agencies 


Several state agencies have responsibilities for implementing the WA Cares Fund, led by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).

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Department of Social & Health Services 


DSHS is the lead agency. It administers applications and benefits and manages providers.

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Employment Security Department 


ESD administers exemptions and collects premiums.

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Washington State Health Care Authority 


HCA pays providers for services provided to beneficiaries, tracks benefit usage, and coordinates benefits.

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Washington State Office of State Actuary  


OSA provides actuarial analysis to support long-term Trust Fund solvency.

Looking for more information or printable materials?

See our toolkits for community organizations, employers, and other entities.