People are still getting out of a coming payroll tax for long-term-care program

The WA Cares Fund exemption window for people who had private long-term-care insurance closes next month.

Elizabeth Hovde of the Washington Policy Center is still encouraging lawmakers to seek a repeal in 2023

Elizabeth Hovde
Washington Policy Center

The WA Cares Fund exemption window for people who had private long-term-care insurance closes next month. And another 788 people applied to get out of the payroll tax between Oct. 14 and Nov. 14. Interestingly, there has been an uptick in applications the past two months, after half a year of lower application numbers.

Elizabeth Hovde
Elizabeth Hovde

As of Nov. 14, the Employment Security Department reports the following:

  • Total opt-out requests submitted: 480,499
  • Total opt-out requests approved: 476,841
  • Incomplete applications: 3,550
  • Total opt-out requests processed: 480,391
  • Applications processed as a percentage of total: 99.98%

If you’re a person who has private long-term-care insurance (LTCI) — purchased before Nov. 1, 2021, as is required — you’ll want to jump through the exemption hoops available on the “Exemptions” page of the WA Cares website. If you’re one of the people counted as having an incomplete application, you should be sure to follow up. If your application was approved, you should have gotten a letter from the state that you need to show your employer. The payroll tax of 58 cents for every $100 a worker earns will begin in July 2023 without approval and proof shown to an employer.

After the new year, more exemptions will be made available to select groups who know they can’t benefit from WA Cares from the start, including workers who live outside of the state, non-immigrant visa holders, military spouses and certain veterans with disabilities. That was a change made in this year’s legislative session. These groups of people can also use the exemptions page of the WA Cares website to guide them in applying.  

The commission overseeing the state’s long-term law has been mulling more possible changes to the program and tax. That’s because WA Cares is unpopular, the law was poorly written, and it will treat many people unfairly. Read my look at recent commission activity here

The Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Trust Commission has a slew of recommendations it is readying for the Legislature. Unfortunately, those recommendations don’t include repealing the misguided law and letting Washingtonians keep more of their money for needs today or to allocate for life needs they’ll have in the future. Let’s hope lawmakers seek repeal in 2023.

Elizabeth Hovde is a policy analyst and the director of the Centers for Health Care and Worker Rights at the Washington Policy Center. She is a Clark County resident.

Also read:

Receive comment notifications
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x