As of September 1, the ongoing maximum monthly payment standards for the Aged, Blind or Disabled program (ABD) for low-income Washingtonians has increased for the first time in history.
This change comes after a legislative request was initiated by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to better support those above the age of 65, and those who are blind or disabled, in addition to ensuring payment standards align with other cash assistance programs within the state.
The ABD program, formerly known as Disability Lifeline and General Assistance, provides a cash grant and a referral to the Housing and Essential Needs Program to those who are eligible, including those who are likely to meet Supplemental Security Income disability criteria.
For single individuals on the ABD program, the monthly payment will increase from $197 to $417. For married couples on the ABD program, the monthly payment will increase from $248 to $528. The increase in funds is supported by the state’s 2022 supplemental operating budget.
“The prior grant standard for this program was $197, an amount that was not adequate to cover people’s basic needs,” said Tyler Hemstreet of DSHS. “The increase in the grant standard is designed to better help this population meet those needs.”
According to Hemstreet, as of July 2022 there were 24,078 Washingtonians on the ABD program. In 2011, budget shortfalls reduced the maximum monthly payment from $339 to $197 for single individuals.
With the new funds, Washingtonians who are dependent on ABD grants for income will receive $5,004 per year, which is approximately 37% of the Federal Poverty Level. The DSHS acknowledges that these costs do not meet standard of living costs anywhere in the state.
In 2021, about one third of ABD recipients were experiencing homelessness, while over half of the recipients had a mental health disability, according to DSHS.
To learn more about the ABD grant and to apply visit https://www.washingtonconnection.org