Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

Getting StartedReporting a Change
Filling out an ApplicationCheck Application/Renewal Status
Creating an AccountDocuments & Available Forms
Password & User IDPrivacy & Security
Client Benefit AccountMid-Certification Reviews

 

Getting Started


Who is this site for?
What qualifies me as a Washington resident?
How long will it take me to check eligibility and apply?
How much will it cost to check eligibility and apply?
Why would I use this site?
I don't see the benefit program I need, where would I look?
What questions do I need to answer?
When will know which programs I may be eligible for?
What do I do if I get an error on a page?
Will the online application save my information if my computer browser times out?
Now that my application has been submitted, what do I need to do next?


Who is this site for?

This site is designed for anyone who would like to find out what benefits and programs they might qualify for in the state of Washington.  The online application is for residents of Washington State to apply for Federal, State, or local benefits. 

What qualifies me as a Washington resident?

A resident under Basic Food Eligibility is someone who is living in Washington; and is not receiving assistance from another state or tribe.

A resident under Cash Eligibility is someone who is living in Washington; and

              • Is not receiving comparable assistance from another state or tribe; 
              • Intends to remain in the state permanently or indefinitely; or  
              • Entered the state looking for a job or a job commitment.

A resident under special circumstances for nursing facilities is someone who enters Washington solely for medical care in a nursing facility. A person placed in a nursing facility by another state, is considered a resident of the state that placed them.

Residency requirements for Temporary Visa Holders must first meet citizenship and alien status requirements as they are stated in http://app.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=388-424

How long will it take me to check eligibility and apply?

The See If I Qualify screening may take as little as 15 minutes.  The online application, Apply Now can take about an hour to complete.

How much will it cost to check eligibility and apply?

There is no cost to you for completing the See If I Qualify screening or submitting an application.

Why would I use this site?

There are many reasons to use this site. First, this site offers you the ability to check for various services and programs that may be available to you. Secondly, it provides a vast array of information on resources available in the community.  And, finally you can apply for some programs directly on this site.

I don't see the benefit program I need, where would I look?

The Find Services page explains how to use the See If I Qualify feature as well as a list of other community resource links.

What questions do I need to answer?

The See If I Qualify screening asks basic questions about your household members and their income, resources and expenses to see what benefits you may qualify for.  The online application, Apply Now goes into more detail if you choose to apply for some programs. 

When will I know which programs I may be eligible for?

When you have entered all your information for the See If I Qualify screening, a results page displays showing benefits and programs you may qualify for.

What do I do if I get an error on a page?

If there is an error on the page, it appears in red letters by the field that has an error.  Correct the information in the field with the error.  If you still run into issues, select the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page.  Make sure to include the error message you received and what page you were on when you received the error message. Please note that copy and paste functions do not work in the Contact Us comment section.

Will the online application save my information if my computer browser times out?

The online application automatically saves each time you navigate to a new page.  However, if you have not created a SecureAcces Washington (SAW) account, you may not be able to access your application information again.

Now that my application has been submitted, what do I need to do next?

If you are submitting an application on-line during regular business hours, it is available for processing within just a few minutes.  If you are submitting an application on-line after normal working hours (after 5pm, on a weekend or holiday) it will be dated as received on the next regular business day. Some programs require an interview; others don't. You will receive a letter in the mail notifying you of next steps.

You may be contacted to provide additional information or proof of your circumstances such as:

              • Social Security Numbers if not already provided.
              • Proof of income, such as: copies of checks, check stubs, letters or statements from anyone who gave your household money.
              • Proof of resources you may have, such as: vehicle registration, bank statements, stocks, bonds, life insurance policies.
              • Proof of costs for child care or dependent adult care such as: a receipt from your provider.
              • Proof of housing costs such as: mortgage payments, property tax payments, homeowner's insurance, rent receipts, copy of your lease, utility bills, letter from your landlord.
              • Other proof such as: unpaid medical bills, health insurance premiums, pregnancy with due date, changes to your immigration or citizenship status, adoption support or foster care payments.

IF YOU APPLIED FOR CASH, MEDICAL, FOOD ASSISTANCE, OR CHILDCARE SUBSIDY PROGRAMS:

              • Your application will be sent to DSHS for processing;
              • To process your application for cash and food assistance faster:
                  • Call us between 8AM and 3PM, Monday through Friday, at 1-877-501-2233; or
                  • Visit us in person from 8AM-3PM, Monday through Friday at any local office. you can use the office locator to find your local DSHS Community Services Office.
                  • You may not need an interview if everyone in your household is age 60 or over and you have no earned income.
              • To process your application for child care, you can wait until you receive a letter to advise you of the status, or you can call us from 8AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday, at 1-877-501-2233.

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Filling out an application


How do I save a partial application or renewal if I cannot finish it now?
How do I return to an application or renewal to finish it?
If I have changes to my application, or I made a mistake, how do I make changes after I’ve submitted it?
How can I explain some of my answers on the application?
If I would like to explain some of my answers; will I have the ability to do so later during the interview process?
What information will I need to provide about my situation?
Who do I contact if I don't understand how to answer a question on the application?
Who do I include on my application?
How do I apply for benefits for a minor in my care?
How do I apply for benefits for my adult parent?
How do I apply for benefits when I have roommates?
Do I have to enter exact amounts when answering financial questions?
What is an annuity?
How do I know if the application was submitted?
I prefer to fill out a paper application. Can I still do that?
Can I apply in person?
What is an Authorized Representative (AREP?)

How do I save a partial application or renewal if I cannot finish it now?

If you don't have enough time to complete your application or renewal, you can save and complete it later by following these steps:

1. Click the Save and Finish Later button at the bottom of the application or renewal page to access the Saving Your Application page.

2. Click the Create Account button to create a Washington Connection Secure Access Washington (SAW) account User ID and password. For help with creating your account, see Creating an Account. Or:

            • Click the Create Temporary Access Code button to receive and create a temporary access code and password.
                • If using a Temporary Access Code, be sure to write down the Temporary Access Code that displays on the Save Application page. It consists of eight alpha characters (Example ABCD-EFGH).

3. When you are ready to work on your application or renewal again, select one of the following options from the Login tab:

Note: If you've already submitted the partial application or renewal, you won't be able to access it again. However, you can submit a new application or renewal if needed.

How do I return to an application or renewal to finish it?

Washington Connection SAW account users - The following steps are for users who started an application or renewal while logged into their account:

1. Click on the Access Your Account button within the Login tab.

2. Enter your User ID and password.

3. Click the Submit button to display the Summary page.

            • Applications and Renewals that have not been submitted display with a hyperlinked tracking number.

4.  Click on the tracking number for the application or renewal you would like to finish and submit.

Note: Washington Connection will save your application or renewal for up to 90 days before deleting it automatically. It is advisable to submit your application as quickly as possible. It is also advisable to submit your renewal before the certification ending date.

Temporary Access Code users - The following steps are for users who saved their application or renewal with a temporary access code:

1. Click on the Access With Temporary Code button within the Login tab to display the Finish a Saved Application page.

2. Enter the assigned temporary access code and password that was created when you saved your application or renewal.

3. Click the Continue button to return to where you left off within your pending application or renewal.

If I have changes to my application, or if I made a mistake, how do I make changes after I’ve submitted it?

Once an application is submitted, it can’t be updated online.  You can:

              • Complete a new application if you want to apply for additional benefits or if you need to add additional people.
              • Discuss other changes with benefit program staff during your interview.
              • Contact the Customer Contact Center at 1-877-501-2233 for questions on Child Care Subsidy applications.

How can I explain some of my answers on the application?

A comment section located at the end of the application is provided to clarify any answers.

If I would like to explain some of my answers, will I have the ability to do so later during the interview process?

Yes, you will have the ability to explain all entries on the application during the interview.

What information will I need to provide about my situation?

You may be contacted to provide additional information or proof of your circumstances such as:

              • Social Security Numbers if not already provided.
              • Proof of income, such as: copies of checks, check stubs, letters or statements from anyone who gave your household money.
              • Proof of resources you may have, such as: vehicle registration, bank statements, stocks, bonds, life insurance policies.
              • Proof of costs for child care or dependent adult care such as: a receipt from your provider.
              • Proof of housing costs such as: mortgage payments, property tax payments, homeowner's insurance, rent receipts, copy of your lease, utility bills, letter from your landlord.
              • Other proof such as: unpaid medical bills, health insurance premiums, pregnancy with due date, changes to your immigration or citizenship status, adoption support or foster care payments.

Many of the forms you may need are available online at DSHS Forms

Who do I contact if I don't understand how to answer a question on the application?

If you are not sure how you should answer a specific question check through the remainder of the FAQs or select the help link for the page. If you are having technical issues or receiving an error message, select the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page.

Alternately, you may skip the question and submit the application. You will have an opportunity to answer the question during the interview.

Who do I include on my application?

You should include everyone who currently lives with you even if you are not requesting benefits for them.  For each person in the home, there is a question asking if you want benefits for this person.  For anyone you are not applying for, select No.

How do I apply for benefits for a minor in my care?

When completing the application, you must provide your own information first.  Then include the child on the Household Members page.  If you are not financially responsible for the child, complete the remainder of the application using the child’s information only.

How do I apply for benefits for my adult parent?

If you are completing an application for another person, enter their information on the About You page.  Then answer the remaining questions as it relates to your parent.

How do I apply for benefits when I have roommates?

You should include everyone in the home even if you are not requesting benefits for them.  Some programs, such as energy assistance, count ALL household members including roommates, while other programs only count your immediate family members.

When you reach the question asking if you want benefits for this person, select No if you don't want them included on your application.

Do I have to enter exact amounts when answering financial questions?

Amounts can be rounded up to the nearest dollar amount or you can enter exact amounts if you want. 

For example: If you expect your household’s monthly income to be $1600.00, enter it as 1600. Don’t include the dollar sign ($) or the decimal (.) point.

What is an annuity?

There are three types of annuities:

              • Money paid at regular intervals: an amount of money paid to somebody yearly or at some other regular interval.  
              • Investment paying annual sum:  an investment that pays the investor a set amount of money each year for a number of years, often the investor's lifetime.
              • Contract for annual payment:  the right to receive or the obligation to pay an annuity.

How do I know if the application was submitted?

Once you have completed the Electronic Signature page, a confirmation message displays with a list of the Next Steps.

I prefer to fill out a paper application. Can I still do that?

Yes, applications for benefits like cash, medical, food assistance or Child Care Subsidy Programs can be downloaded by clicking here or you can pick one up at your local office.

You can then hand-carry your completed documents to the local office. Or, mail them to DSHS, PO Box 11699, Tacoma, WA 98411-9905.

Can I apply in person?

Yes, for applications for cash, medical and food assistance, you can apply at any local Community Services Office Monday through Friday from 8AM to 3PM. Click here to find a local office in your area.

You can also apply for Child Care Subsidy over the phone by calling the Customer Service Contact Center at 1-877-501-2233.

What is an Authorized Representative (AREP)? 

An AREP may be any adult who is aware of your circumstances and can act on your behalf to apply for or maintain your benefits. AREPs are not authorized to receive personal health information about you unless they have a power of attorney, a guardianship, or have been named on a signed DSHS 14-012(x) consent form to receive such information. 

An AREP can share any information relevant to program eligibility, but the Department can only share information with your AREP that is necessary to determine or maintain your benefits. Unless you tell us otherwise, your AREP continues through the end of your benefit certification period.  You may revoke or withdraw your AREP at any time without any impact on your benefits.

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Creating an Account


Why should I create an account on Washington Connection?
How do I create an account on Washington Connection?
What if I don't get an email confirmation after creating an account?

Why should I create an account on Washington Connection?

When you create an account on Washington Connection you create a unique User ID and password which allows you to keep a record of submitted electronic applications, renewals and report changes for 90 days. This is also the first step to registering for a Client Benefit Account, which allows you to check the status of your electronic forms, other documents submitted, benefit status and amounts, and a range of other information regarding your benefits.

If you have forgotten your User ID or password, see the Password & User ID section below.

How do I create an account on Washington Connection?

To create an account:

1. Click the Create New Account button in the Create Account tab.

2. Complete the Create a New User Account page.

          • If you need assistance click on the Help with this Page link.

3. Check your email for an activation link or code.

4. Click on the Access Your Account button from the Login tab and sign in with your newly created User ID and password.

What if I don't get an email confirmation after creating an account?

Check the junk/spam mail folder of your email. If you find the email there, you may want to change your email settings to allow emails from us. If you still cannot locate the email confirmation, let us know be sending a message through the Contact Us link found at the bottom of any page.

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Password & User ID


What do I do if I forgot my password for my account?
What do I do if I forgot my User ID?
What is a Temporary Access Code?
How do I get a Temporary Access Code?
What do I do if I forgot my password for my Temporary Access Code?

What do I do if I forgot my password for my account?

To request a new password be sent to you, select the Access Your Account button in the Login tab. Then select the Reset my Password link and follow the directions.

What do I do if I forgot my User ID?

To request your User ID be sent to you:

1. Select the Access Your Account button in the Login tab.

2. Select the Forgot my User ID link and follow the directions.

What is a Temporary Access Code?

A temporary access code is used if you want to save your online application, but haven’t created an account. A temporary access code is good for 90 days and is specific to the one application/renewal it was created for. If you have multiple applications/renewal, each would have their own temporary access code if you requested one for that application/renewal.

How do I get a Temporary Access Code?

To get a temporary access code:

          • Click on the Save and Finish Later button at the bottom of most pages.
          • Select Create Temporary Access Code.
          • Please make a note of the system generated eight-digit alpha character code (AAAA-ZZZZ); these are not stored on the database and cannot be retrieved.
          • Create a temporary password.

What do I do if I forgot my password for my Temporary Access Code?

Unfortunately, your temporary access code is not stored anywhere within Washington Connection and cannot be retrieved. For this reason, we highly recommend you create an account.

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Client Benefit Account (CBA)


What is a Client Benefit Account (CBA)?
What are the requirements to register for a Client Benefit Account (CBA)?
How do I complete the registration page?
How do I activate my Client Benefit Account (CBA)?
Why can’t I register for a Client Benefit Account (CBA)?
What if I don’t get an email with my access code after creating my Client Benefit Account (CBA)?
I already completed a review/renewal, why do I still have a see Important Dates reminder?
Where can I find my mid-certification review?

What is a Client Benefit Account (CBA)?

A CBA allows you to access the following information about your public assistance benefits:

          • Check the amount of your current benefits (Cash & Food) as well as the status of classic medical assistance, which includes long term care, aged, blind or disabled, Medical Savings Program, or Healthcare for Workers with Disabilities.
          • View benefit history information about your case. This includes any active benefits and the prior four months of benefits for a specific assistance unit. In addition, you can also see any benefits that were denied or closed within the last 60 days.
          • Check the Child Care Provider name and co-payment amount for each child
          • See a reminder message when a certification period is ending.
          • Access information on how to request a Medical Service Card or a replacement EBT card.
          • Verify documents you submitted have been received and the status of the document.
          • View a summary of the household members on file with your local public assistance office.
          • Contact information for your benefits.
          • Links to information for requesting a medical service card, replacing an EBT card, finding a medical/dental provider as well as a link to your rights and responsibilities form.

What are the requirements to register for a Client Benefit Account (CBA)?

Registering a CBA account requires you to:

          • Have a SecureAccess Washington (SAW) account
                • If you need to create a SAW account click on the Create New Account button in the Create Account tab and follow the instructions.
                • Once you have created and activated your SAW account, follow the instructions below to register for a CBA.
          • Have a DSHS Client ID
          • Be listed as the head of household for an active, pending, suspended or pending spenddown DSHS program or listed as the head of household for a closed or denied DSHS program within the last 60 days
          • Have a federally verified Social Security Number
          • Complete the registration page with the same information that is on file.

How do I complete the registration page?

To complete the registration page for a Client Benefit Account (CBA) select the My CBA button in the My Account tab and complete all of the required fields.  Then click the Next >> button.

The required fields are:

          • First Name
          • Last Name
          • Date of Birth
          • Gender
          • Social Security Number
          • DSHS Client ID
          • Residential ZIP Code

Once you complete this step, check your email for an activation code.

How do I activate my Client Benefit Account (CBA)?

Check your email inbox for an activation email and follow the instructions. If you didn't receive an email check your junk/spam account. If you find the email there, you may want to change your settings to allow contact from us. If you still cannot locate the email confirmation, let us know be sending a message through the Contact Us link found at the bottom of any page.

1. Login in with your activation code.

2. Enter your DSHS Client ID (this can be found in the top or bottom right corners of any letter addressed to you from the Department of Social & Health Services, from your case worker or by calling the statewide Customer Service Center at 1-877-501-2233)

3. Select your correct Residential ZIP Code from the list of five ZIP Codes.

Why can't I register for a Client Benefit Account (CBA)?

 

The system doesn't currently support registering for a CBA, in the following situations:

          • You are not the head of household for an active, pending, suspended or pending spenddown assistance unit.
          • Your Social Security Number has not been Federally Verified by a system cross match.
          • The benefits you were the head of household on have been closed or denied more than 60 days.
          • You are the head of household for a Foster Care Assistance Unit (AU).
          • You are enrolled in the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP).
          • Our records indicate a CBA is already associated to the DSHS Client ID entered.
          • The information we have on file is not an exact match to the information entered when registering for a CBA.

The following message displays:

Error: Please review the information to make sure it is correct. If the information is correct, please use the "Contact Us" link to get help; or click the "Help with this Page" link located below the Logout button.

If you have a Client Benefit Account (CBA) and enroll in the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), you will no longer be able to access your CBA information.

What if I don't get an email with my access code after creating my Client Benefit Account (CBA)?

Check the junk/spam mail folder of your email. If you find the email there, you may want to change your settings to allow contact from us.

If you still cannot locate the email, click on the Contact us link at the bottom of the page.

I already completed a review/renewal, why do I still have a see Important Date reminder?

This usually indicates the renewal hasn't been processed by the assigned office/worker.

Contact the Customer Service Contact Center at 1-877-501-2233 to identify and complete any needed actions.

Where can I find my mid-certification review?

When your mid-certification review is due, the link to your pre-filled form displays on the Important Dates page in your Client Benefit Account.

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Reporting a Change


What changes must be reported?
When does a change have to be reported?
Where can I report my changes?
What happens after I submit a change?

What changes must be reported?

If you receive cash, medical, or food assistance you must report changes listed in WAC 388-418-0005.

If you only receive food assistance, you need to tell us if your gross monthly income is more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

If you receive child care assistance you must report the changes listed in WAC 170-290-0031.

When does a change have to be reported?

You must report changes by the 10th of the next month after the change. For example, if you have a change today, report it by the 10th of next month.

Where can I report my changes?

            • You can report changes using this web site by clicking on Report a change,
            • You can download a printable version of Report a change form and take it a DSHS office. To find the address for your local office, click here and enter your ZIP Code. Or, you can mail it to: PO Box 11699, Tacoma, WA 98411-9905
            • You can call the Customer Service Contact Center at 1-877-501-2233.

What happens after I submit a change?

If you tell us about a change, we must apply the change to all your benefits.

If the change results in a decrease in benefits, we notify you of the change.

If the change results in an increase in benefits, we ask for verification and make the change once we have the verification.

If we can’t deterine the impact of the change, we ask for more information.

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Check Application/Renewal Status


I've already completed an application do I need to complete another one?
How can I check the status of my application?
I was told I was approved for a certain amount, but I never received it.

I've already completed an application do I need to complete another one?

For cash, medical, food assistance, and Child Care Subsidy applications, contact your local DSHS Community Services Office for more information. 

How can I check the status of my application?

You can check your application and document status online after the successful registration of your Client Benefit Account (CBA). You can check the status of a paper application or an application that was completed in person on the Documents Submitted page once you have created a CBA. Or, you can visit a local office, call the Customer Service Contact Center at 1-877-501-2233 or the automated Answer Phone at 1-877-980-9220.

I was told I was approved for a certain amount, but I never received it.

For specific case information, please contact your local office or the Customer Service Contact Center at 1-877-501-2233.

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Documents & Available Forms


How can I send in required documents or forms?
Where can I get the required forms?
What documents will I need to complete my interview?

How can I send in required documents or forms?

You can send required documents or forms to us in various ways:

              • You can hand-carry documents to a DSHS office. to find the address for your local office, click here and enter your ZIP code.
              • You can mail documents to: PO Box 11699, Tacoma, WA 98411-9905.
              • You can fax document to: 1-888-338-7410

Be sure to include your client ID or Social Security Number on all documents.

Where can I get the required forms?

For applications for cash, medical, food assistance, Child Care Subsidy programs, forms can be:

              • Downloaded by clicking here;
              • Picked up at your local Community Service Office;
              • Maled to you by calling the Customer Service Contact Center at 1-877-501-2233; or
              • Submitted online at www.WashingtonConnection.org.

What documents will I need to complete my interview?

In order to speed up the process of determining your eligibility, it may be helpful to have your Social Security Numbers, wage/pay stubs, rental/mortgage agreements, utility bills and bank statements available to refer to.

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Privacy & Security


I am an undocumented alien; will I be reported to Immigration?
Will my information be shared with anyone? 
When will the Consent to Share Washington Connection Application appear?
What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?

I am an undocumented alien; will I be reported to Immigration?

No.  All information is kept confidential and Immigration will not be contacted.

Will my information be shared with anyone? 

The information is given only to the programs you apply for so they can respond to your application.  If you have assigned an Authorized Representative to assist you, they'll be given the same information that is sent to you.

When will the Consent to share Washington Connection Application page appear? 

The consent form appears only when a Community Based Organization assists you with completing forms on the Washington Connection website.

When the consent form appears, the Community Based Organization will ask if you accept or decline sharing your information with them for 90 days. The organization can still assist you if you decline; however, the organization will not be able to retain your shared information. 

What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?

MFA provides an additional layer of security for you when logging into your SAW account or performing transactions online. MFA requires you to use more than one method of authentication, such as passwords, challenge questions or a PIN number to verify your identity. This enhancement makes it more difficult for unauthorized people to access your confidential information.

To learn how to enroll in MFA Adaptive Authentication, click here.

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Mid-Certification Reviews


Where can I find my mid-certification review?
Why is my mid-certification review not appearing in my Client Benefit Account (CBA)?

Where can I find my mid-certification review?

When your mid-certification review is due, a link to the pre-filled form displays on the Important Dates page in your Client Benefit Account (CBA). You must log in to your CBA in order to access your pre-filled mid-certification review.

Why is my mid-certification review not appearing in my Client Benefit Account (CBA)?

The link to your pre-filled mid-certification review only displays in your CBA when it is due. It appears 45 days before the end of the 6th month of your certification period, and remains through the end of your 7th month.

Example: If your certification period is January-December, the link to your mid-certification review displays on May 17 and is available through July 31.

The link remains until the department has processed your review or until the end of the 7th month; whichever occurs first.

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