Beginning next year, DC residents who earn a lower-wage (think less than $60,000 for a family of four) will begin receiving a monthly check, akin to a first-in-the-nation monthly basic income.
Today, the Council’s Committee on Business and Economic Development voted to advance legislation from Councilmember Charles Allen to clarify those dollars won’t cause any resident to lose eligibility for other crucial assistance programs.
The program, which is an expansion of DC’s match of the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit, is referred to as DC’s monthly basic income. It was a priority fought for by Councilmember Charles Allen during the FY22 budget debate last summer and passed as part of the broader 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. 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,” Councilmember Charles Allen said. “Today’s vote 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.”
There is no enrollment required: residents simply need to file their taxes and eligibility is determined just as it would be for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. As part of the Hearts and Homes Amendment fought for by Councilmember Allen along with Councilmembers Nadeau and Lewis George, DC is set to double its local match of the federal EITC, making it the most generous program in the nation and establish the benefit to arrive in monthly payments.
Those monthly payments will scale up over the next years and will vary in amount based on household income and number of dependents. But the benefits will start next year around $50-$192 a month and grow annually. Over the next few years, the local EITC will continue to increase, and when eligible residents file their 2026 tax returns, the monthly payments will grow to as much as $560 per month for some families.
The legislation advanced out of committee today clarifies that any payments from the monthly basic income program cannot be counted against any annual income thresholds that are used to determine eligibility for any other income-based programs meant to assist low- or fixed-income residents.
The bill now heads for a first vote before the full Council.
Erik Salmi | [email protected]