The Legislature and Gov. Inslee have announced plans to change and improve the WA Cares Fund during the 2022 legislative session, which is scheduled to conclude in March 2022. Per direction from the governor, ESD will not collect premiums from employers until April 2022 or until the Legislature gives further direction.

However, the existing law still directs employers to begin collecting premiums from their employees beginning Jan. 1. Each employer will need to decide whether they will implement the law as it stands or await legislative action.

We will update the website as more information becomes available and you can sign up for the WA Cares Fund mailing list. For employer-specific information, you can also subscribe to ESD’s employer newsletter.

Self-employed? Sign yourself up for benefits! 

If you’re self-employed, you can choose to opt in and protect yourself with the same affordable benefits available to other Washington workers.

Get the Benefits of Opting in


If you’re a self-employed earner, WA Cares is your key to long-term care coverage. Your contribution is just as low as traditional workers. You’ll pay the current premium rate, which is 0.58 percent, of:

  • Your net earnings.
  • Gross wages, if any, paid to you from your business entity.

That’s about $300 per year for the average Washington worker, much less than most private insurance.


  • Peace of mind: Once you’re vested, you’re insured against long-term care up to $36,500 over your lifetime.
  • Financial security: Unlike Medicaid, WA Cares doesn’t make you spend down your savings before coverage kicks in.
  • Choice: You decide how and where to use your benefits.


If you have qualifying wages for Paid Family and Medical Leave, they’ll also qualify for WA Cares. In other words, you’re eligible if you’re: 

  • A sole proprietor.
  • A joint venturer or a member of a partnership.
  • A member of a limited liability company (LLC).
  • An independent contractor. Definition.
  • Otherwise in business for yourself.

Corporate officers are not self-employed. See Paid Family and Medical Leave’s Help Center for more on corporations and LLCs.

Learn more 

Need more info?

Visit our Learn More page to read our frequently asked questions.