WA CARES BENEFITS
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.
WA CARES PROTECTS YOUR FUTURE
The WA Cares Fund is an affordable long-term care insurance program for all working Washingtonians.
It offers choice
WA Cares empowers us to control how and where we receive long-term care.
It provides peace of mind
We no longer have to worry about how we will afford long-term care as we age.
AFFORDABLE BENEFIT WHEN YOU NEED IT
Most of us will need long-term care
Long-term care is help with activities of daily living like bathing, eating, dressing, taking medications, and assistance in the bathroom. It includes many types of services and supports beyond care in facilities like nursing homes.
Long-term care is not the same as medical care and isn’t covered by health insurance or Medicare. 7 in 10 of us will need long-term care during our lifetime, but most of us don’t have a plan to pay for it. Many people who need care end up relying on Medicaid but to financially qualify, they must exhaust their life savings paying out of pocket.
How you can stay at home for longer
Most people want to stay in their own home to receive care and in most cases, there is no medical reason why they can’t.
WA Cares Fund was designed to help people age in place in their own home. The benefit includes many options to provide support and flexibility for family caregivers. Families can use the benefit to train and pay a family caregiver or hire someone to help with care so the family member can take a break.
Your affordable long-term care benefit
Beginning July 2026, each person who is eligible to receive the WA Cares Fund benefit can access services and supports costing up to $36,500. The benefit amount will be adjusted annually up to inflation.
Near-retirees who have earned partial benefits will have access to a percentage of the total amount depending on how many years they worked.
How long your benefit will last
For many people, the WA Cares Fund benefit will be enough to pay for the care they need to stay at home, without ever moving to a facility.
For in-home care, a $36,500 benefit will pay for 20 hours of care per week for a full year. That’s about the average amount of care Medicaid in-home care consumers use now.
The costs of long-term care vary and some people will need care for longer. For those with higher care needs, WA Cares Fund will provide immediate relief and give families time to plan for future costs.
FLEXIBLE BENEFIT LETS YOU CHOOSE
The WA Cares Fund benefit can be used for many different services and supports. You choose whatever mix of family and professional care meets your needs. You can also pay for things like equipment, meal delivery and transportation to help you go about your daily life.
Services and supports that will be covered include:
- Professional personal care in your home, an assisted living facility, an adult family home or a nursing home
- Training and support for paid and unpaid family members who provide care
- Adaptive equipment and technology like hearing devices and medication reminder devices
- Home safety evaluations
- Home-delivered meals
- Care transition coordination
- Memory care
- Environmental modifications like wheelchair ramps
- Personal emergency response system
- Dementia supports
- Education and consultation
PEACE OF MIND FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
When you need care, it can have a significant impact on your loved ones. Without a plan to pay for long-term care, family members often end up with full caregiving responsibilities.
This can be exhausting. More than a third of caregivers say their situation is highly stressful and nearly a quarter report their health has worsened since taking on the role. With WA Cares Fund, families can pay for a caregiver to help out while they take a break.
Family caregivers often experience professional and financial setbacks, and most regularly spend their own money on out-of-pocket costs related to care. In fact, caregivers spend an average of $7,242 out of pocket each year on caregiving expenses.
WA Cares Fund helps families get the resources they need to care for loved ones in whatever way works best for them. With WA Cares Fund, families know help will be available when they need it.
EARNING AND RECIEVING BENEFITS
For questions about the program, you can call 844-CARE4WA (844-277-3492) toll-free or contact us by email.