Jan 14, 2022 - News

D.C. launches $900 monthly cash pilot for moms

Illustration of alphabet blocks with dollar signs instead of letters.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Over 100 new and expectant mothers in D.C.’s poorest wards will receive $900 a month in cash under a new city-funded pilot program to help families raise children.

Why it matters: The $1.5 million year-long program is one of the few of its kind in the nation, and it stands out for having no restrictions on how mothers can spend the funds to support their babies.

  • The nonprofit Martha’s Table will administer the funds to 132 new and expectant mothers in Wards 5, 7, and 8.
  • Eligible mothers have yearly household earnings below 250% of the federal poverty level. They need to be raising a child 3 months of age or younger, or are in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.
  • On top of the $900, officials pointed out families would also be eligible for the federal child tax credit worth $300 a month.

What they’re saying: “These payments will give moms the autonomy and flexibility that they need to provide care for their kids and themselves during this all-important first year of motherhood,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser at a launch ceremony at Martha’s Table’s headquarters in Southeast.

  • Enrollment is set to begin soon on Martha Table’s website and the program expects to launch next month.
  • The funds are a cash transfer, meaning they don’t count as income for tax purposes.
  • David Lloyd, who works on assistance programs at Martha’s Table, said the nonprofit provided a total of $1.2 million in cash assistance in the early days of the pandemic to 137 families enrolled in its education center.
  • “We believe cash assistance is an efficient, impactful, and transformational way to support family stability during times of extreme vulnerability,” he said at the press conference with the mayor.

By the numbers: Raising a child in D.C. can cost nearly $29,000 a year, when accounting for infant day care, rent, food, clothing, transportation, and insurance premiums, according to a recent report from LendingTree.


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