Washington Direct Payments of up to $500: Who Will Get It and How to Apply

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Some Washington residents will soon receive direct payments of up to $500. These Washington direct payments are specifically for Tacoma residents and are part of the Growing Resilience in Tacoma (GRIT) project. Eligible residents will receive $500 per month for a year.

What is Growing Resilience in Tacoma?

In 2020, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards announced the Growing Resilience in Tacoma (GRIT) program. It is a universal basic income pilot program for city residents Tacoma created by the United Way of Pierce County and the City of Tacoma. The objective of the program is to assist low-income families in the area with financial stability, home security and mental health.

Basically, the program focuses on households that fall into the ALICE (asset-limited, income-constrained while employed) category. The income of these households is just above the federal poverty level, but they still struggle to meet their basic expenses.

Under GRIT 2022, more than 100 households in Tacoma received $500 a month for 12 months. Now authorities want to expand the program for one more year with GRIT 2.0. The Washington direct payments will start in April and continue until June 2025.

Application for GRIT 2.0 opened on March 1. Under the program, 175 applicants will be randomly selected to receive direct payments of $500.

The money will be unrestricted and unconditional, which means applicants will be free to spend the money on whatever they want. Those who received the money under the original program in 2022 spent 23% of the funds on food and groceries and 12% on housing and utilities. The full result of the original GRIT program has yet to be released.

Who will get the Washington direct payments?

To qualify for the program, applicants need to meet four requirements, including being a single head of a household between the ages of 18 and 65 with children up to 17 years old (or up to age 21 if they have a disability).

The applicant must also live within the following zip codes: 98404, 98405, 98408, 98409, 98418, 98444 or 98445. They also must meet UWPC’s Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained while Employed (ALICE) criteria and have an income between 100% and 200% of the federal poverty level. For example, the income for a family of two must be between $20,440 and $40,880.

Those who meet the requirements need to fill out an application online at UWPC’s website. The application form is available in English, Chinese, Russian, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Spanish. Each household is allowed to submit only one application.

Applicants will be informed about the status of their application through March 20, while selected applicants will start receiving the Washington direct payments in April. Participants will be selected randomly from the pool of applicants who meet the requirements.

Visit the United Way of Pierce County website to get more information on the Growing Resilience in Tacoma (GRIT) program.