Your paycheck is about to get smaller: State’s long-term care tax starts July 1

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Unless you applied for an exemption, you’ll soon notice a difference in your paycheck.

On July 1, workers begin contributing to the WA Cares Fund, the state’s new long-term care insurance program.

For those who are eligible, it provides a lifetime benefit of $36,500 to offset the costs of long-term care. It will pay for such things as meals, transportation, and wheelchairs and scooters. It can also be used to pay a family member to provide care. The program will start paying benefits on July 1, 2026.

Annual increases will be made based on inflation.

To fund the program, a 0.58% payroll tax will be imposed on Washington workers — or 58 cents per $100. For someone who makes $50,000 annually, that’s about $290 a year. For someone who makes $150,000, it will cost about $870 a year.

Approved by the legislature in 2019, the program has been controversial from the start. The first-in-the-nation program was delayed by 18 months following legislative action.

Last year, a federal judge dismissed a class action lawsuit that was filed by opponents, saying the court did not have jurisdiction since it was a state tax.

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