Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Early Learning & Human Services Committee

HB 1831

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Revising resource limitations for public assistance.

Sponsors: Representatives Pettigrew, Macri, Santos, Ortiz-Self, Frame, Kagi, Fitzgibbon, Stanford, Ormsby and Pollet.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Revises exemptions for personal resources used in determining eligibility for public assistance.

Hearing Date: 2/14/17

Staff: Dawn Eychaner (786-7135).


The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Economic Services Administration administers a number of state and federally funded public assistance programs, including medical and food assistance, cash assistance, and other services. Eligibility for public assistance is generally determined based on a combination of factors for a household, including disability status, income, and resources or assets available to the applicant.

Resources available to an applicant for public assistance may be considered assets that can be applied toward meeting that person's need. The DSHS may adopt rules exempting certain resources from being counted as assets. Exempt resources must include, but are not limited to:

In addition, the DSHS may exempt resources or income that is determined necessary to the applicant's restoration to independence, to reduce the need for public assistance, or to aid in rehabilitating the applicant or a dependent of the applicant. In some cases, an applicant's non-exempt resources may reduce the assistance received or make the applicant ineligible to receive assistance.

States have the authority to determine some policies related to individuals and families receiving federal public assistance. For example, states can eliminate asset limits altogether for certain programs such as TANF.

Summary of Bill:

The exempt resources counted when determining eligibility for public assistance are revised as follows:

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on February 7, 2017.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.