Update as of January 25, 2022

The Washington state House has voted to delay the implementation of the WA Cares Fund. What does this mean for you? Here is what we know now:

  • Employers will not begin withholding tax until July 1st, 2023.
  • The tax has not been repealed it has been delayed. This means that if you purchased a private long-term care policy that you should not cancel it.
  • There is no indication that the opt-out period will be extended. If you meet the opt-out criteria and purchased your LTC policy prior to Nov 1, 2021, you have until December 31, 2022, to opt-out of the tax. The video below will walk you through the opt-out process.
  • Long-term care policies must have been purchased by November 1, 2021, to qualify for the exemption.
  • If you have received your exemption letter, you should submit it to your employer ASAP.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as we learn them.

Original post:

On October 1st, the window to opt-out of Washington State’s Long-Term Care Tax opened. If you have purchased a private long-term care policy, you should start the application process soon.  The website has been overwhelmed with visitors.  We suggest you visit it during off-hours (early morning, late evening, or the weekend). Some of our own employees have attempted to go through the process and have experienced challenges simply because the website cannot handle all the traffic. Good news is that with some perseverance a few of us have had success in navigating through the process.

We have outlined a step-by-step guide and created a video on the topic to help you with the opt-out process.

Step One: Create a SecureAccess Washington (SAW) Account

Visit: https://secureaccess.wa.gov/myAccess/saw/select.do and select the “Sign Up” button. If you already have an existing SAW account, enter your information and hit submit.

After entering your first and last names and your email address, you should receive an email with a link to activate your account. Once your account is active, you’ll need to add “Paid Family and Medical Leave” to your SAW services. 

Step Two: Add Paid Family and Medical Leave to your SAW services

Log-in to your SAW account at secureaccess.wa.gov,

Select “Add A New Service

Select “I would like to browse a list of services

Scroll through the list to “Employment Security Department” and select “Paid Family and Medical Leave” from the drop-down menu. 

When you see the confirmation screen that lets you know the service has been added to your list, click “OK”, then select “Paid Family and Medical Leave” from your list of services to access your account. 

Step Three: Create Your Exemption Account

Once you’ve logged in and selected Paid Family and Medical Leave from your list of services in SAW, you’ll click “Continue” to proceed to creating your WA Cares Exemption account.

Under My WA Cares Exemption, click on Apply for an Exemption

On the “Create an Account” page, select the “Create an Account” button to the right of “WA Cares Exemption”.

Complete the necessary information to create you exemption account

Upon completion you’ll receive a “customer ID”

Step Four: Apply for Your Exemption 

Enter your current age

Attest that you are:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Have long-term care insurance purchased before 11/1/2021
  • Wish to opt-out of participating in the WA Cares Fund Program

You may need to upload proof of identity if you have not done so in the past under the Secure Access WA system.

You have Submitted Your Application – What’s Next?

To see the status of your application

  • Under the Paid Family and Medical leave area click on Access Now
  • Hit Continue
  • Your application status will be listed, and any correspondence the state has sent to you

Final Step – Provide Exemption Approval to Employer

If your application is approved, you’ll get an exemption approval letter from ESD, at which point you’ll be:

  • Expelled from the program with no option to re-enroll.
  • Disqualified from accessing WA Cares benefits in your lifetime.
  • Required to present your exemption approval letter to all current and future employers.

Present your exemption approval letter to all current and future employers! The exemption will take effect the quarter after your application is approved.

If you fail to present your ESD approval letter, employers will withhold NON-REFUNDABLE WA Cares premiums.