Skip to content

Inside Olympia — Working Families Tax Credit, Medicaid Cliff

TVW logo by TVW

Even though Washington is not an income tax state, many low- to moderate-income Washingtonians — an estimated 400,000 people — are eligible for Washington’s new Working Families Tax Credit.

The tax credit is essentially a rebate on sales taxes paid by Washington residents. Eligibility is based on qualifying for the federal Earned Income Credit, which is filed as part of federal income taxes. Washingtonians who qualify are eligible for a credit of up to $1,200.

Kevin Dixon is Assistant Director, Working Families Tax Credit Division for the Washington Department of Revenue. He’s responsible for standing up the new program. His goal is to get the word out to Washington residents, many of whom may not know they’re eligible for the credit. The Department of Revenue has even kicked off a new website to help people find out if they’re eligible, and if so how to apply.

While some Washingtonians may gain a tax credit, tens of thousands of others may lose their Medicaid coverage at the end of the COVID pandemic. It’s known as the “Medicaid Cliff.”

In Washington, Medicaid is named Apple Health. During the pandemic, eligibility requirements were dropped, in order to ensure health care coverage while COVID was moving through the state’s population. The end of COVID means the end of free eligibility, and while many will still qualify for Apple Health, others may not.

Host Austin Jenkins discusses how the state is addressing the situation with Dr. Charissa Fotinos, the state Medicaid Director who works for the Washington State Health Care Authority; and Ingrid Ulery, the new CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which serves as the state’s health care marketplace for those who purchase their own health care insurance.