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APPLYING FOR BENEFITS

APPLYING FOR BENEFITS

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PROGRAM IMPROVEMENTS

As of January 2022, WA Cares Fund has a new timeline and improved coverage. Changes include:

  • Near-retirees earn partial benefits for each year they work
  • Certain workers who would be unlikely to qualify or use their benefits can request an exemption. These are workers who live out of state, military spouses, workers on non-immigrant visas and veterans with a service connected disability rating of 70% or more.

Learn more about changes to the program, key dates and what employers need to know.

ELIGIBILITY

Applying for WA Cares Benefits

People who need long-term services and supports may begin applying for benefits in July 2026.

To be eligible for benefits, you must have met the WA Cares contribution requirements by the time you apply. You must also need help with activities of daily living. You must be at least 18 years old and a current resident of Washington to receive long-term care benefits.  

The benefit can only be used in Washington because we are the first in the nation to develop this type of program. Laws vary and some states don’t have as many protections for vulnerable people as we do. To make sure people using our benefits get high-quality services and supports, WA Cares will only pay providers who have been approved and have a contract with the program.  However, the state is planning a study of possible solutions for people who have earned WA Cares benefits but move out of Washington during retirement. 

ASSISTANCE REQUIREMENTS

To be eligible to receive benefits, you must need assistance or supervision with at least three activities of daily living, such as:  

  • Medication management
  • Personal hygiene
  • Eating
  • Toileting
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Transfer assistance
  • Bed mobility
  • Body care
  • Bathing
  • Ambulation/mobility
  • Dressing

HOW IT WORKS

If you’ve met contribution requirements and are eligible to receive benefits, you’ll be able to decide which of the benefits we cover would be most helpful for you and your family.  

WA Cares Fund will help you find a contracted provider for those benefits and pay the provider directly. Unlike many private insurance policies, you won’t need to pay a set amount out of pocket before care kicks in – allowing your family to focus on care instead of money when you start to need help.