We all want to be able to buy the food that’s right for us, see a doctor when we’re sick, have a safe place to live in the neighborhood we want to live in, and spend time with the ones we love. We are launching the Campaign for Cash because we believe everyone deserves that – no matter what.
But, while so many of us struggle to meet our basic needs, we watch wealthy corporations in Washington state double and triple huge profits and influence our lawmakers to get out of paying the taxes they owe.
Through our Campaign for Cash, we build power to improve and expand direct cash assistance in Washington state by organizing community partners and building leadership among people most impacted by this unfair system.
Sharing Our Stories
As we approach the 2024 legislative session, the Campaign for Cash wants to tell our stories about what it’s like to receive cash assistance and live on a low income in Washington state through a series of interviews and conversations. We hope that by sharing our experience, we can show that cash assistance programs are a lifeline for many but must do more to provide a pathway out of poverty for the people they exist to help. We hope that our voices can influence policy change to build a system that works for those most impacted by poverty in our state.
Read our interviews to learn more about what it’s like to receive cash assistance in Washington!
Direct cash opens up opportunities
For Krystina, receiving monthly direct cash payments through the expanded Child Tax Credit “meant more time together and more freedom to do family outings and such. We had our first family vacation ever and my oldest is 12. The smiles that were on their faces and the memories made just made my heart and soul warm to be able to do that.”
Cash Assistance programs in Washington
There are several direct cash assistance programs available in Washington state but, they are designed with strict limits on who is eligible and for how much.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
TANF is a federal program run by the state to give monthly cash payments to families with children. To qualify, families must have an income of less than $15,696 per year (or $1,308 per month) and less than $6,000 in savings and assets. To continue receiving assistance, families must complete job search and work preparation requirements through the WorkFirst program.
Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD) Cash Assistance Program
The ABD program provides cash assistance of up to $197 per month to people who are over 65, blind, or meet the disability criteria set by the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The monthly payment amount is set to increase to $417 in September 2022. There are many restrictions on who can receive cash assistance through ABD, including being required to first apply for SSI or other federal aid programs like Medicaid. Once someone starts to receive SSI payments, they are required to pay back what they received through the ABD program.
From July to December 2021, for the first time ever families received advanced monthly payments of up to $300 per child through the federal Child Tax Credit. Unfortunately, this federal expansion was only temporary in response to COVID-19. Starting in 2023, people in Washington state will be eligible to receive $300 to $1,200 per year through the annual Working Families Tax Credit, including immigrants who are undocumented.
Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI)
Guaranteed Basic Income is a program that provides ongoing direct payments so recipients have a reliable source of income. Right now, there are several GBI pilot programs operating throughout Washington state. In the 2022 Legislative Session, a bill was introduced to start a statewide GBI program called the Evergreen Basic Income Trust. Unfortunately, state lawmakers did not pass the bill in 2022 so it will have to be reintroduced in the 2023 Legislative Session.
The Campaign for Cash aims to make direct cash assistance easily accessible for all who need it.
- We all deserve to have what we need to survive and live healthy lives, no matter what.
- We are each the experts in our own lives and know how to meet our needs better than anyone else.
- We should all be able to get help when we need it.
- We should all be able to live debt-free and have what we need to cover emergency expenses.
- During a crisis or difficult life event, we should have the time, money, and resources we need so we can focus on our healing.
- We all deserve access to the things that enrich our lives, regardless of what we can afford – education, quality time with loved ones, time to rest, travel, explore hobbies, interests, and more.
- We deserve to have control over our own futures.
- We all should have a valued voice in the decisions that affect our lives.
- Poverty is a policy choice, and it’s possible to end it.