About this Application

How do I apply for benefits?
To complete your application, fill out the questions in this application. You can start your application today by giving us your name, address, and signature or the signature of your authorized representative on the “electronic signature”screen.

How soon can I receive help with food?
Expedited Service:
We decide if you are eligible for food assistance within 7 days if you show proof of your identity and meet one of the following:

  • Your household will have less than $150 gross income and less than $100 liquid resources this month.
  • Your household's income and resources are less than your monthly rent and utilities.
  • Your household includes a destitute migrant or seasonal farm worker.

Standard Service:
If you don’t qualify for expedited service, you may still be eligible for food assistance with higher income. A family of three can have total income of up to $3,089 monthly and still qualify for benefits. If you are not eligible for expedited service, we may take as many as 30 days to determine your eligibility, but most are processed much earlier. We process more than half of all applications within 5 days. 

How soon can I receive help with cash?
We process your application as quickly as possible but it may take from 30 to 45 days to determine your eligibility, depending on what program you are applying for.

Benefits are issued by the day after we decide you are eligible. Food benefits usually start the day we receive your application. Cash benefits usually start the day we have all the information to decide you are eligible.

Civil Rights
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Under the Food and Nutrition Act and USDA policy, discrimination is prohibited also on the basis of religion or political beliefs. To file a complaint of discrimination, contact USDA or HHS. Write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). Write HHS, Director, Office for Civil Rights, Room 506-F, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201 or call (202) 619-0403 (voice) or (202) 619-3257 (TTY). USDA and HHS are equal opportunity providers and employers.

Immigration Status and Social Security Numbers
You may be able to get assistance for some people you live with even if others you live with can't get help because of immigration status. You must tell us the status of anyone who applies. We have medical programs that cover some people who can't prove they are in the country legally.

Under Federal Law (42 CFR §435.910, 45 CFR §205.52, 7 CFR §273.6), you must give us the Social Security Number (SSN) for anyone you live with who applies for Medicaid, TANF, or food assistance. We may also need SSNs of parents and spouses who live with you but don't apply. We have medical programs for some people who don't have SSNs.

We use SSNs to check identity, verify eligibility, prevent fraud, and collect claims. We exchange information with other agencies to manage our programs and follow the law. We may also give this information to law enforcement agencies trying to catch fleeing felons.

Citizenship and Identity for Washington Apple Health
U.S. citizens must prove citizenship and identity to receive Washington Apple Health. We will work with you to obtain the proof. If we require a document that will cost you money, we will send for it and pay the cost. We don’t need proof for anyone in your household who receives Medicare, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) based on their own disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Proof includes but isn't limited to:

Proof of Citizenship

  • U.S. passport.
  • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship.
  • Tribal membership card with picture.
  • Official state/county U.S. birth certificate.

Proof of Identity

  • State driver's license.
  • State identity or military ID card with picture.
  • U.S. American Indian/Alaska Native tribal document.
  • Completed Citizenship Documentation and Identity Declaration form for children under 16.

Privacy and Food Assistance
The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as amended permits the department to collect the information we ask for on the application, including the SSN of each household member. Providing the requested information is voluntary. However, failure to provide a SSN or proof of application for a SSN without a good reason will result in the denial of Basic Food benefits to each individual failing to provide a SSN. We verify some of this information with computer matching programs, including the federal Income and Eligibility Verification System (IEVS).

We use this information to:

  • Decide who is eligible for our programs.
  • Collect overpayments of food assistance.
  • Manage our programs.
  • Make sure we follow the law. 

We may give this information to:

  • Federal and state agencies for official use.
  • Law Enforcement agencies pursuing people who are fleeing to avoid the law.
  • Private collection agencies to collect food assistance overpayments.

Food Assistance Penalty Warning
We do send information about persons applying for Food Assistance to other Federal agencies to check that the information is correct. If any information is incorrect, the persons who apply may not get Food Assistance. If a person provides information that they know is incorrect, they could be criminally prosecuted. Penalties for intentionally breaking Food Assistance rules vary from disqualification from the program, to fines, or possibly imprisonment.

Repaying the State for Medical and Long Term Care

  • ESTATE RECOVERY is a law (RCW 41.05a and 43.20b) that requires your estate repay DSHS and the Health Care Authority (HCA) for some medical costs and Long Term Care (LTC) you received. Your estate includes assets you own at the time of your death. It does not include assets solely owned by your parents, spouse, state registered domestic partner, or child. Tribal lands may be exempt from recovery.
  • Expenses included in estate recovery are: Federally funded LTC expenses DSHS pays after you are age 55; State funded LTC expenses DSHS pays at any age; and State funded Medicare expenses DSHS pays. Expenses not included in estate recovery are: Expenses HCA pays under a federal Medicare Savings Program; and medical costs HCA pays, if you do not also receive LTC services. For more information see WAC 182-527-2742.
  • Estate recovery doesn’t occur until after your death and the death of your surviving spouse, if any. If you have dependent heirs, estate recovery may be delayed for some hardship reasons.
  • If you are permanently living in a nursing home or other medical facility, DSHS may file a lien against your property to repay the costs of medical assistance, medical services, and long-term care you received. If you return home, DSHS will release the lien. DSHS won’t file a lien against your home if:
  • Your spouse lives there.
  • Your child who is blind, disabled, or under 21 lives there.
  • Your sibling who has an equity interest in the home lives there and has lived there for at least one year immediately before you entered the facility.