Washington State House Democrats


Rep. Pettigrew bill to help low-income families passes legislature

Legislative news from Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle

March 14, 2018

Rep. Pettigrew bill to help low-income families passes legislature

OLYMPIA – This week, House Bill 1831, sponsored by Rep. Eric Pettigrew, was signed into law. The bill revises the asset limits for public assistance, allowing struggling families to get help without having to decimate their savings or get rid of a reliable car.

“Families should not be forced into total and utter destitution before they can access public assistance,” said Rep. Pettigrew. “Having a small amount of savings or a reliable car can make the difference between being stuck in poverty or being able to break that cycle. This bill gives people who are experiencing temporary setbacks a better opportunity to get back on their feet.”

Eligibility for public assistance is determined based on a number of factors depending on the particular program. In addition to income, one of the financial factors that is considered is whether the individual or family seeking assistance has other assets. Under current law, certain resources are not counted as assets including:

  • A house that the applicant is living in;

  • furniture or personal effects;

  • a vehicle worth no more than $5,000

  • all other resources under $1,000 or, for TANF recipeints, up to $3,000 in combined savings account.

Under House Bill 1482 a vehicle valued at up to $10,000 would no longer disqualify an individual or family from public assistance. Additionally, families would be able to retain up to $6,000 in “all other resources.”