Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

Getting StartedReporting a Change
Filling out an ApplicationCheck Application/Renewal Status
Creating an AccountDocuments & Available Forms
Password & User NamePrivacy & Security
Client Benefit Account

 

Getting Started


Who is this site for?
What qualifies me as a Washington resident so that I can check eligibility and apply for benefits?
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 that I need, where would I look?
What questions do I need to answer?
When will I get my eligibility results?
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 so that I can check eligibility and apply for benefits?

A resident is someone who meets one of the following: 

  • Currently lives in Washington and intends to continue living here permanently or for an indefinite period of time. 
  • Entered the state looking for a job.  
  • Entered the state with a job commitment. 
  • It is not necessary for a person moving from another state directly to a nursing facility in Washington State to establish residency before entering the facility.  
  • A person is considered a resident if they intend to remain permanently or for an indefinite period unless placed in the nursing facility by another state. 

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

The Am I Eligible? screening takes approximately 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 an Am I Eligible? screening or submitting an application.

Why would I use this site?

This site offers you the ability to check for various services and programs that may be available to you or to find out more information on resources in the community.  You can also apply for some programs directly on this site.

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

The Explore Options tab explains how to use the Am I Eligible? feature as well as a list of other community resource links.

What questions do I need to answer?

The Am I Eligible? screening asks basic questions about the members in your home and their income, resources and expenses to see what benefits you might qualify for.  The online application, Apply Now goes into more detail if you choose to apply for some programs. 

When will I get my eligibility results?

When you have entered all your information for the Am I Eligible? screening, a results page displays showing benefits and programs you might 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.

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 an 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 this application after normal working hours it will be dated as received the next regular business day.

Some programs require an interview; others don't. You will be contacted if you are required to have an interview and an appointment will be scheduled.

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;
  • DSHS will contact you about the next steps; or
  • To process your application for cash, medical or food assistance faster, you can:
  • Call us for an interview from 8AM-2PM Monday-Friday at 1-877-501-2233; or
  • Visit us in person from 8AM-2PM Monday-Friday at any local office.
  • To process your application for child care, you can call us from 8AM-5PM Monday-Friday at 1-877-501-2233.

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Filling out an application


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?
If I would like to explain some of my answers; will I have the ability to do so later during the application 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?
What are the income limits?
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?
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?

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

Please note the following steps are for users that have already created an account and started the application or renewal while logged into their account.

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

2. Enter your user name and password.

3. Click on the Access My Account button in the My Account tab. The Summary page displays.

  • Application/Renewals that have not been submitted display with a hyperlinked tracking number and date started.

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

You have up to 90 days to submit the application or renewal from the date you last accessed the form before it is deleted from Washington Connection.

For users that have saved their application using the Save and Finish Later button, take the following steps.

1. Click on the Access With Temporary Code button link in the Login tab. The Finish a Saved Application/Renewal page displays.

2. Enter the Temporary Access Code you were provided with when you saved the application/renewal and the password you created.  Then click the Continue button.

  • You are then returned to the application/renewal where you left off

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, that specific form 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 the changes with benefit program staff during your interview if you have other changes.
  • Contact the local DSHS Community Services Office for questions or to report changes for cash, medical, food assistance or Child Care Subsidy applications.

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

Yes, a comment section has been provided to clarify any answer, you believe is needed.

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 that 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.

What are the income limits?

For State applications (such as cash, medical, food assistance, Child Care Subsidy Programs): Click here and select the benefit type. For other programs, see the resources links on the Explore Options page.

For City of Seattle applications (such as energy assistance and home weatherization); Click here to link to the Income Guidelines chart.

Who do I include on my application?

You should include everyone that 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 Add Members page.  If you are not financially responsible for the child, complete the remainder of the application using the child’s information only, especially any financial information.

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.

How do I know if the application was submitted?

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

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 and sending your completed documents to the local office.

Can I apply in person?

Yes, For State applications: (such as cash, medical, food assistance, Child Care Subsidy Programs), you can apply at any local Community Service Office. Click here to find a local office in your area.

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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 name and password that allows you to submit electronic applications, renewals and report changes. This is also the first step to registering for a Client Benefit Account, which allows you to check the status of your electronic forms, find contact information and a range of other information regarding your benefits

If you have forgotten your user name or password, see Passwords & User Names 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 Help with this page link.

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

4. Click on the Access Your Account button and sign in with your newly created user name 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.

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Password & User Name


What do I do if I forgot my password for my account?
What do I do if I forgot my User Name?
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 Can’t access your account? link and follow the directions.

What do I do if I forgot my User Name?

To request your user name be sent to you:

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

2. Select the Can't access your account? link.

3. Select the Forgot your user name 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 in. 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 the Temporary Access Code option.
  • 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 if you have forgotten your password for your temporary access code, it can’t be retrieved.  Your temporary access code is not stored anywhere within Washington Connection so it 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 information is available to me after I have created 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?
Why can’t I see information about my child care?

What is a Client Benefit Account (CBA)?

A Client Benefit Account allows you to access the following information about your public assistance benefits:

  • Check the amount of your current benefits (Cash & Food) and the status of your current Medical (if any) including long term care.
  • See a reminder message when a certification period is ending.
  • Check to see what the anticipated benefit amount will be for the next month.
  • 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.
  • See up to four months of historical benefits.
  • Contact information for your benefits 

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

Registering a CBA account requires you to already have the following:

  • 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 Client Benefit Account (CBA)
  • 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 with your local office

How do I complete the registration page?

To complete the registration page for a CBA account select the Access My Account button in the My Account tab and complete all of the required fields.  Then click the Next >> button:

  • 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 did not 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.

1. Login in with your activation code.

2. Enter your DSHS Client ID (this can be found in the top right corner 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)?

Individuals are only issued one unique DSHS Client ID so only one Client Benefit Account (CBA) can be associated to that DSHS Client ID.

If our records indicate a CBA is already associated to the DSHS Client ID entered, the following error message displays:

"Our records indicate a Client Benefit Account already exists for this Client ID".

Or

If the information we have on file is not an exact match to the information entered when registering for a Client Benefit Account (CBA), the following error message displays:

"The information entered doesn't match what we have on file. Please review the information to make sure it is correct. If the information is correct, please contact your local office for help".

  • For example: This can happen if you had a recent name change and it has not been updated in our records.

Or

The system does not currently support creating a Client Benefit Account (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).

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 information is available to me after I have created a Client Benefit Account (CBA)?

Client Benefit Account provides you with the following information about public assistance benefits you are the head of household for:

  • Current benefit amount and the next months anticipated benefit amount for cash and food assistance as well as the status of medical assistance, including long term care.
  • 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.
  • A summary of the household members on file with your local public assistance office and the benefits you or a member of your household receives.
  • Document(s) you have submitted within the last 30 days and the status of the document(s). This includes forms submitted while logged into Washington Connection.
  • Contact information for the office that your case record is currently assigned to.
  • The date benefits are scheduled to end and a description of the benefit type (cash, food or medical).
  • 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 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 has not been processed by the assigned office/worker.

See the My Benefits Contact section/link for contact information associated with your case.

Why can't I see information about my child care?

At this time you can apply for Child Care Subsidy Program, but information about existing cases is not available.

The Washington Connection website and Client Benefit Account is a developing/growing website with new features and functions being added regularly.

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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, or you may download a printable version of this form and mail or bring it into a DSHS office. To find the address and fax number for your local office, click here and enter your ZIP Code.

What happens after I submit a change?

If you tell us about a change, we must apply that 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 tell 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?

At this time, the online application system does not receive status data from local offices. 

State applications (such as cash, medical, food assistance, and Child Care Subsidy programs): Contact the local office where your application was sent to find out the current status of your application.  You can also call the Statewide Customer Service Center toll free 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 directly.

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Documents & Available Forms


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

How can I send in any required documents or forms?

For State applications: (such as cash, medical, food assistance, and Child Care Subsidy programs): Documents can be faxed or dropped off at your local Community Service Office.  To find the address and fax number for your local office, click here and enter your ZIP code.  Please include your client ID or Social Security Number on all documents.

Where can I get the required forms?

For State applications: (such as cash, medical, food assistance, Child Care Subsidy programs):  Forms can be downloaded by clicking here or picked up at your local Community Service Office.

What documents will I need to complete my application?

In order to speed up the process of completing the application, 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? 
What is an Authorized Representative?
When will the Consent to Share Washington Connection Application page appear?
What is an annuity? Also, how is interest from my bank account counted?

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 that you apply for so that they can respond to your application.  If you have authorized a community based organization to assist you, they will be given the same information that is sent to you.

What is an Authorized Representative? 

An Authorized Representative (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 will continue through the end of your benefit certification period.  You may revoke or withdraw your AREP at any time without any impact on your benefits.

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

Washington Connection is a website where you can explore services that may be available to you and your family. The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) can better assist you if we are able to share your information with other agencies and professionals in case they can provide services to you and your family. DSHS will only share the minimum amount needed to help you. You do not have to agree with or sign this consent notice to apply for DSHS programs but it will help DSHS better serve you. 

When the consent form appears, check the box to indicate if you accept or decline the information sharing. Currently the consent form appears for: 

  • Community Based Organization (CBO) when they help you fill out an application. 

What is an annuity?  Also, how is interest from my bank account counted?

  • 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.

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