By Southwester Staff
Beginning next year, low-income DC residents, such as those who earn less than $60,000 for a family of four, will begin receiving a monthly check from the District government, akin to a first-in-the-nation monthly basic income. Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen advanced legislation in July to clarify that monthly basic income dollars won’t cause residents to lose eligibility for other public assistance programs.
The monthly basic income program expands DC’s match of the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Allen advocated for the bill during the FY22 budget cycle, and it was passed as part of a broader piece of legislation known as the Hearts and Homes Amendment.
“When I fought for the Hearts and Homes Amendment, it had to include a basic income because I knew low-wage residents could really use some extra help,” Allen said.”There’s just no question having a few hundred bucks more in your monthly budget for diapers, groceries, rent, or whatever else is going to make it easier to thrive in the District.”
Of the July vote, Allen said it “gets us closer to ensuring we’re providing that help and aren’t inadvertently denying residents another source of help in our pursuit to ensure workers of all income levels can continue to call DC home.”
DC residents will not need to enroll in the monthly basic income program or file any additional paperwork. As they file their taxes, eligibility will be determined as it is for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
Monthly payments will scale up over the coming year, and will vary based on household income and number of dependents. Initial benefits next year will start from $50-$192 a month, and when eligible residents file their 2026 tax returns, the monthly payments will grow to as much as $560 per month for some families.
Allen’s July legislation states that any payments from the monthly basic income program cannot be counted against annual income thresholds that are used to determine eligibility for any other income-based programs meant to assist low- or fixed-income residents. Now approved by the Committee on Business and Economic Development, it will move ahead to a first vote before the full Council.