Events, Mailing List, FAQ and more!
Excited to learn more about the WA Cares Fund? We’ve got events and options for you!
WA CARES WEBINARS
Each month, WA Cares hosts a webinar via Zoom to discuss a new topic related to aging and caregiving. Each webinar includes a basic overview of WA Cares and how the program relates to that month’s issue. Check out the schedule below and check back each month for more details.
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Can’t join live? Captioned recordings are available via the WA Cares YouTube Channel!
WA Cares Conversations: Economic Inequality and Caregiving
More info coming soon.
2023 Webinar Schedule
|Date||Topic||Presenter/Panelists||Login Information/ Recording Link|
|January 18, 2023||WA Cares Basics: What Workers Need to Know||Kristen Maki, WA Cares Fund Community Relations & Outreach Program Manager, DSHS||View recording|
|February 2023||WA Cares Conversations: Economic Inequality and Caregiving||Details to be added.||Details to be added.|
|February 2023||WA Cares Conversations: Long-Term Care in Rural Communities||Details to be added.||Details to be added.|
|March 2023||WA Cares Conversations: Supporting Workers with Disabilities||Details to be added.||Details to be added.|
|April 2023||WA Cares Conversations: Caregiving as a Public Health Issue||Details to be added.||Details to be added.|
|May 2023||WA Cares Basics: What Employers Need to Know||Details to be added.||Details to be added.|
|May 2023||WA Cares Conversations: Caring for Stroke Survivors||Details to be added.||Details to be added.|
|June 2023||WA Cares Conversations: Caregiving & Brain Health||Details to be added.||Details to be added.|
|July 2023||WA Cares Basics: What Workers Need to Know||Details to be added.||Details to be added.|
2022 Webinar Archive
|Date||Topic||Panelists||Login Information/ Recording Link|
|June 28, 2022||Caregiving and the LGBTQ+ Community||Hannah Dahlke, Member, LGBTQ+ Seniors of the Inland NW|
Ruben Rivera-Jackman, Trainer, National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging
Steven Knipp, Executive Director, GenPride
Janice Emery, Member, NW LGBTQ+ Senior Care Providers Network (Flyer)
|Recording available: |
|July 19, 2022||The Gender Gap in Caregiving||Jessica Gomez-Barrios, Political and Advocacy Coordinator, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 775|
Maggie Humphreys, Washington State MomsForce Director, Moms Rising
Lunell Haught, President, Washington State League of Women Voters
|Recording available: |
|August 31, 2022||Long-Term Care Planning for Near-Retirees||Cathy MacCaul, Advocacy Director, AARP Washington |
Laura Cepoi, Executive Director, Olympic Area Agency on Aging
Ben Veghte, Director, WA Cares Fund (DSHS)
|Recording available: https://youtu.be/u2H7EaJDspU|
|October 6, 2022||The Next Generation of Caregivers||Susan Engels, Office Chief, State Unit on Aging (DSHS)|
Christine Morris, Office Chief, Training, Communications and Workforce Development (DSHS)
Dani Rice, Caregiver
|Recording available: |
|October 27, 2022||Long-Term Care Planning for Younger Workers||Laura Cepoi, Executive Director, Olympic Area Agency on Aging|
Ryan Davis, Interim Executive Director, Washington Asset Building Coalition
|Recording available: https://youtu.be/Cfs0wSyI6gw|
|November 17, 2022||Caregiver Mental Health||Daryn Nelsen-Soza, Board Member & Senior Education Manager, NAMI Washington|
Dana Allard-Webb, Family Caregiver Support Program Manager, DSHS
Adrienne Cotton, MAC & TSOA Program Manager, DSHS
Lynne Korte, Dementia Care Program Policy Manager, Dementia Action Collaborative
|Recording available: https://youtu.be/wNNXFi6szyU |
REQUEST A SPEAKER
Is your organization interested in hearing directly from WA Cares staff or our partners? Are you planning a professional event and interested in having a presentation on WA Cares as part of your agenda? Look no further! Fill out the form below and a staff member will be in touch with you as soon as possible.
Please note: Submitting a request does not guarantee a speaker. Subject to staff availability and scheduling.
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Interested in hearing about upcoming meetings and events? Want to stay on top of the latest implementation news or get notices about rulemaking? Sign up for our mailing list. Employers can also subscribe for updates from ESD.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Benefits offered and care need
Is there a daily limit to WA Cares Fund benefits?
WA Cares Fund is a flexible benefit you can use to meet your care needs up to $36,500 with no daily limit.
What services will WA Cares Fund provide?
WA Cares Fund will pay for care where you need it, whether it’s in-home or in a facility. You can hire a home care aide and pay a qualified family member (including a spouse) to provide care. You can use funds flexibly to make home modifications so you can get around better, purchase a home safety evaluation so you can prevent avoidable falls, and have meals delivered to your door. You can purchase equipment, assistive devices, medication reminders, and transportation to the doctor. If you are being supported by an unpaid family caregiver, you can hire a home care aide to give them a break or get your family members the training they need to feel supported. These are just some of the services WA Cares Fund will offer. Others include dementia supports, memory care, care transitions, personal emergency response systems, and more.
How long will $36,500 typically last?
Twenty hours of home care per week for one year costs around $32,000 in Washington State. The typical DSHS long-term care client uses 96 hours per month. WA Cares Fund can provide complete financial relief for families who are paying out of pocket for in-home long-term care for a full year and substantial relief for individuals who receive care in a residential setting. According to AARP, 48% of people who need long-term care only need it for one year or less.
How will the department decide if I have a need for long-term care?
DSHS will ask you questions about your activities of daily living and the support you need. If you need assistance with at least three activities of daily living, you are eligible for benefits. This may be based on self-report and could be verified by a health professional. The types of activities DSHS will ask you about are eating, bathing, walking, or moving around in a wheelchair, dressing, getting in and out of a chair and your ability to move around once you are in bed, using the bathroom, managing your medications, personal hygiene, and body care. DSHS will also ask about cognition and any memory/cognitive impairments that impact your daily life. Once you are determined eligible, you have access to the lifetime $36,500 benefit to use flexibly to address your needs.
What long-term care insurance policies qualify for an exemption?
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) has defined criteria that private policies must meet to qualify.
Our company supplies long-term care insurance for our employees. Can we apply for an exemption on behalf of our employees?
No. Employees get to choose if they want an exemption from WA Cares coverage, or if they want to use WA Cares to supplement the benefits you’re already offering. If they choose to apply for an exemption, they have to do it themselves.
Can I cover the cost of my employees’ premiums?
Yes. You have the option to pay WA Cares premiums on your employees’ behalf.
Do we have to collect premiums for employees who don’t live in Washington?
Businesses will need to collect WA Cares premiums for employees whose work is localized in Washington. Generally, you’ll collect premiums for WA Cares from the same employees you pay premiums on for Paid Family and Medical Leave.
Do WA Cares contributions top out at the Social Security cap?
No. Unlike Paid Family and Medical Leave, premium contributions do not top out at the taxable maximum for Social Security.
How do I know if my employees have approved exemptions?
It is the employee’s responsibility to notify and give you a copy of their approval letter from ESD, which contains the date their exemption goes into effect. Once you are provided the letter and the effective date has passed, you must stop withholding premiums. Employers must return incorrectly withheld premiums to the employee.
What are the new exemption types and how do I know if I qualify?
New legislation created additional exemption types. You can’t apply for these exemptions until Jan. 1, 2023. The new exemptions are for people who are:
- Living out of state – your primary residence must be outside of Washington.
- You will no longer qualify if you change your primary residence to Washington.
- Temporarily working in Washington with a nonimmigrant visa – you must hold a nonimmigrant visa for temporary workers.
- You will no longer qualify if your nonimmigrant visa status changes and you become a permanent resident or citizen employed in Washington.
- A spouse or registered domestic partner of an active-duty military member – you must be married to or have a registered domestic partnership with an active-duty service member in the U.S. armed forces.
- You will no longer qualify if your spouse or domestic partner is discharged or separated from military service or upon dissolution of the marriage or registered domestic partnership.
- A veteran with a 70% or greater service-connected disability – you must be rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as having a service-connected disability of 70% or greater.
- This exemption is permanent.
What documentation will I need to provide when applying for an exemption?
We need to verify certain documents when you submit your exemption application. Make sure you’re fully prepared.
What do I do if I no longer qualify for one of above exemptions?
Your exemption will be discontinued when you no longer qualify for an exemption, and you will begin paying premiums and earning coverage for WA Cares Fund. You will be required to notify the Employment Security Department and your employer within 90 days of no longer qualifying. Failure to notify the Employment Security Department and your employer within 90 days will result in the payment of any unpaid premiums with interest at the rate of 1% per month to the Employment Security Department.
Can I still apply for a private LTC insurance exemption?
No. Those who had private long-term care insurance on or before Nov. 1, 2021, were able to apply for an exemption from the WA Cares Fund from Oct. 1, 2021, until Dec. 31, 2022. This opt-out provision is no longer available.
Can I cancel my private LTC insurance since the program was delayed?
The legislative changes delayed parts of the WA Cares implementation by 18 months but the requirements and deadlines for this type of exemption didn’t change. If you already have an approved exemption, it’s up to you to decide to maintain or cancel your private long-term care policy. You should speak with your broker or agent who sold you the policy about options.
Can I get a refund for the private LTC insurance policy I purchased?
Purchasing a private policy to qualify for a WA Cares exemption was a voluntary decision by individuals wishing to opt out of the program. If individuals have already received an approval letter from ESD exempting them from the WA Cares program, their exemption is still approved and will still be effective once premium assessment begins on July 1, 2023.
The laws passed in 2022 did not change the requirements for private long-term care insurance and exemption status in RCW 50B.04.085. It is up to individuals to decide whether they wish to maintain or cancel their private long-term care policies. The laws also did not provide for reimbursement of the cost of long-term care insurance voluntarily obtained by individuals.
The purchase of a private policy is between the customer and their private insurance provider. Customers should contact their insurance provider with questions.
Is there cash value if you never use it?
WA Cares Fund is a universal long-term care program that works like Social Security, where all workers participate and earn coverage over the course of their careers. There is no option to cash out the contributions you’ve made if you do not use benefits.
I’m a federal employee. Can I participate in WA Cares?
WA Cares is not available to federal government employees, including active duty military employees. If, however, you work for a military department that is considered a Washington state employer, you will be included in WA Cares Fund.
Who is the underwriter for WA Cares Fund?
WA Cares Fund is a universal long-term care program that works like Social Security, where all workers participate and earn coverage over the course of their careers. This program does not have underwriting and is fully funded by pooling worker’s wages and investing them with the State of Washington for WA Cares Fund beneficiaries to use when they need long-term care.
What is the financial status of the WA Cares Trust Fund?
WA Cares Fund has not yet begun collecting premiums or paying benefits. The Office of the State Actuary has published initial actuarial projections of the long-term financial status of WA Cares Fund as well as frequently asked questions on this issue.
Are Statutory W-2 Employees subject to the payroll tax being implemented in January of next year?
Definitions for who contributes to the WA Cares Fund (Long-Term Services and Supports or LTSS) in RCW 50B.04.010 refer back to the Paid Family and Medical Leave Program (PFML) definitions in RCW 50A.05.010. This includes the definition of “Employment” in (8). If premiums are not assessed for the PFML program, they will not be assessed for WA Cares Fund.
For other questions about the program, you can call 844-CARE4WA toll-free or contact us by email.