Updated numbers on people exempted from state’s long-term-care program and payroll tax


As of Monday, Aug. 15, the Employment Security Department reports the following WA Cares exemption numbers:

  • Total opt-out requests submitted: 478,781

  • Total opt-out requests processed: 478,681

  • Total opt-out requests approved: 475,072

  • Applications processed as a percentage of total: 99.98%

Exemption applications continue to come in comparatively slow, which is expected and good for the Employment Security Department. It has stayed on top of this task, having processed 99.98% of applications it’s received. In January, a whole new batch of workers will be eligible to apply for an exemption from the law and its coming payroll tax. I am sure ESD is hoping for a clean slate before then. 

Fifty-eight cents of every $100 a W2 worker earns will go toward a program that will help some people, regardless of their high or low income, with costs related to needing help with three or more activities of daily life — if they meet vestment, residency and health criteria.  

The numbers above represent the first and once-only batch of people who might not have to give over another portion of their income to the state. The state’s long-term-care law allows Washingtonians who had private long-term-care insurance (LTCI) that was purchased by Nov.1, 2021 — before many people even knew about the tax — to opt out of the mandatory social program. (The tax now begins in July 2023, due to legislative delay.) The high number of opt-outs is impacting program solvency.

The window remains open for the rest of the year for these LTCI policy holders. See application instructions here.

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