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Portable benefits: Taking your WA Cares benefit out of state

family moving
Marzo 15, 2024
Planning to leave Washington in the future? Now you can take your WA Cares benefit with you, thanks to a new law on benefit portability passed this year. Here’s how it will work.

Starting in July 2026, Washington workers can choose to continue participating in the WA Cares Fund if they move out of state. To become an out-of-state participant, workers must have contributed to WA Cares for at least three years (in which they worked at least 500 hours per year) and must opt in within a year of leaving Washington.


Like other workers, out-of-state participants will keep contributing to the fund during their working years. The state will create a process for out-of-state participants to report their earnings and pay premiums, with a focus on making it easy for participants.


Benefits will become available for out-of-state participants starting in July 2030. Out-of-state participants will use the same pathways as other workers to meet the contribution requirement. For the care need requirement, out-of-state beneficiaries must meet at least one of these requirements:

  1. Be unable to perform (without substantial assistance from another person) at least two of the following activities for a period of at least 90 days: eating, toileting, transferring, bathing, dressing or continence. 
  2. Require substantial supervision to protect the beneficiary from threats to health and safety due to severe cognitive impairments.


The program is developing processes to make it easy for out-of-state beneficiaries to access benefits. We’ll provide more details on these processes as they become available.


If you want to learn more and find out when we have updates, connect with us! Make sure to sign up for our email list to get the latest news on program implementation, including any developments on portable benefits. For other questions on portability, you can also register for our next WA Cares Basics webinar or contact our team.