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Benefits for near-retirees

May 24, 2023
In January 2022, the legislature added a new pathway to meeting WA Cares contribution requirements for near-retirees.

This new pathway will ensure people who are near retirement as the WA Cares Fund launches can get access to some long-term care benefits, even if they are not able to contribute for 10 full years. Here’s how it works.


Earning partial benefit


Anyone born before January 1, 1968 will now earn 10% of the full benefit amount ($36,500, adjusted for inflation) for each year they contribute. To earn a qualifying year, a worker must contribute based on 500+ hours of work (just under 10 hours per week on average).


Near-retirees will have permanent access to whatever percentage of the benefit amount they earn at any time they need care. For example, a near-retiree who works and contributes for three years will earn 30% of the full benefit amount – about $11,000. Even near-retirees who retire in 2023 may qualify for benefits. If a near-retiree works and contributes for 500+ hours (just over three months working full-time) in 2023 and then retires, they will have earned 10% of the benefit amount. That’s around $3,650.


Earning full benefit


Near-retirees are also able to qualify for the full benefit amount through one of the other pathways if they meet those requirements. For example, a near-retiree who has a sudden care need soon after they retire could qualify for the full benefit amount if they’ve contributed at least 3 of the last 6 years at the time they apply for benefits.


After you retire


You only contribute to WA Cares while you’re working. As soon as you retire, contributions stop. The benefit amount will grow over time, even after you’re done working and contributing. Learn more about how contributions work.