Benefits

WA Cares Fund FAQ

This page was updated October 20, 2022.

WA Cares Fund premiums

Who is charged the payroll deduction for the WA Cares Fund?
The deduction is collected only on the wages of individuals whose work is located in Washington state.

Are WA Cares Fund benefits available to Washington residents only?
Yes, in order to receive benefits, individuals must be 18 years of age or older and living in Washington state. Benefits will be available starting July 1, 2026.

Is this a program for state employees only?
No. This is a program for all Washington state residents.

I plan on retiring in the next few years so I might not meet the requirements to qualify for benefits. Does the payroll deduction still apply to me?
Yes, the premium will be deducted even if you plan on retiring within the next few years and/or before you meet the requirements to qualify for benefits. Individuals born before January 1, 1968 who have paid into the WA Cares Fund for less that the number of years required to “vest” in the program may qualify for pro-rated benefits. To learn more, visit the WA Cares Fund’s website Earning your benefits.

Return to top

WA Cares Fund premium exemptions

Is there a way to be exempted from paying the premium and participating in the WA Cares Fund program?
You can apply to the Employment Security Department (ESD) for a permanent premium exemption if you already have long-term care insurance and you meet the criteria for a permanent exemption or, starting January 1, 2023, you are a veteran with a 70% or greater service-connected disability.

If your exemption is approved, once it takes effect you do not have to pay the WA Cares Fund premium and you will not be enrolled in the WA Cares Fund. Once you are exempt, you cannot re-enroll in the WA Cares Fund. If you change jobs, you will need to inform your new (non-UW) employer to ensure they don’t collect the premium. More information about exemptions is provided at the WA Cares Fund’s Exemptions webpage.

Additionally “conditional” exemptions based on individual status were created as part of changes to the WA Cares Fund. For more information, view the WA Cares Fund’s Exemptions webpage.

How does the permanent premium exemption process work?
Premiums will be deducted unless you purchased long-term care insurance prior to November 1, 2021 and apply for an permanent premium exemption from the Employment Security Department (ESD) using https://wacaresfund.wa.gov/apply-for-an-exemption/. Applications will be accepted from October 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022. If approved by ESD, you must inform UW of your exemption.

How does the exemption process for veterans with a 70% or greater service-connected disability work?
Information on how to apply for an exemption for this reason has not yet been published by ESD. UWHR will provide updates once available.

How does the conditional exemption process work?
Information on how to apply for a conditional exemption has not yet been provided by ESD. UWHR will provide updates once available.

How do I notify ISC-Payroll that ESD has approved an exemption from the WA Cares Fund?
First, you must have applied for a premium exemption from ESD and received from ESD a premium exemption approval letter. Second, notify UW of your premium exemption by completing this ISC-Payroll secure webform and attaching a copy of your premium exemption letter.

Return to top

Premium exemption effective dates

When does a premium exemption go into effect?
A premium exemption (whether permanent or conditional) goes into effect the calendar quarter after your ESD premium exemption application is approved and only if you notify ISC-Payroll by completing this ISC-Payroll secure webform and attaching a copy of your premium exemption letter.

I notified ISC-Payroll and provided a copy of my exemption letter. The effective date of my exemption has passed but premiums are being collected from my paycheck. Can I get a refund?
If UW has made an error and collected premiums from your paycheck after the effective date of an exemption and you notified ISC-Payroll, incorrectly deducted premiums will be refunded.

I am a new UW employee with an exemption from the WA Cares Fund. When does the premium exemption go into effect?
New employees with an ESD approved premium exemption should notify ISC-Payroll and provide a copy of their exemption letter as part of new employee orientation. If the effective date of your exemption is a future date, premium collection will start on your first day of employment and continue until the effective date. If the effective date of your exemption has passed, the exemption will be in effect immediately and no premiums will be collected by UW once you notify ISC-Payroll and provide a copy of your exemption letter.

Return to top

Other insurance and exemptions

Will UW provide long-term care insurance for employees to purchase as an alternative to the WA Cares Fund?
As a Washington state public employer, UW is only authorized to provide the insurance benefits that are offered through the state of Washington Health Care Authority (HCA) and set by the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB). Currently there are no long-term care insurances provided through either PEBB or the HCA that would be available to UW employees.

Does the long-term disability insurance (LTD) at UW count as long-term care insurance for the purpose of an exemption from the WA Cares Fund?

No, the LTD insurance available to UW employees is a separate type of insurance that is different from long-term care insurance. For this reason, LTD doesn’t meet the requirements for a premium exemption under the WA Cares Fund.

 

Return to top