Washington WorkFirst #
WorkFirst is Washington’s welfare reform program that helps low-income people and families find jobs, keep their jobs, find better jobs, and become self-sufficient.
Under WorkFirst, welfare assistance is no longer an entitlement. Those receiving cash benefits are required by law to participate in the WorkFirst program or actively search for a job, unless otherwise exempt.
How do I get cash assistance in Washington State?
To apply for WorkFirst, you can request for an application at your local Community Services Office (CSO) or apply online at Washington Connection, the online application portal for residents of Washington State.
Those who are eligible for WorkFirst program but do not need ongoing monthly cash assistance may apply for Diversion Cash Assistance which is an emergency assistance, up to $1,250, for those facing a temporary financial crisis.
Washington Basic Food Program (SNAP) #
Basic Food, Washington’s name for SNAP, helps low-income individuals and families in Washington obtain a more nutritious diet by supplementing their income with “Basic Food” benefits.
Monthly benefits are based on how many people live in your household, your income, and living expenses — averaging about $363 per month for a family of three.
How do I apply for Basic Food in Washington?
To apply for Basic Food, you need to submit an application at a local DSHS Community Services Office (CSO) in person, by mail or online through the Washington Connection.
Washington Special Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) #
Washington WIC provides nutrient-rich foods, health screening, nutrition education, breastfeeding support and referrals to other health and social services to families who qualify.
Women, infants, and children in Washington whose gross income falls below certain limits are eligible for $50 worth of healthy foods each month.
How do I apply for WIC in Washington state?
To be fully eligible for the program, applicants must be determined by a health professional to be at “nutritional risks”. Call the Family Health Hotline 1-800-322-2588 for assistance.
Washington Pregnant Women Assistance Program (PWA) #
Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA) is a state-funded program that provides cash assistance to low-income pregnant women who are not eligible for TANF or State Family Assistance (SFA) program.
If you’re a resident of Washington State and are pregnant at the time of the application, you may receive a monthly cash grant of up to $363 when eligible.
You may sign up for Washington PWA at a local DSHS Community Services Office (CSO) in person or online through the Washington Connection.
Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) #
Apple Health serves needy individuals and families in Washington who lack adequate resources to pay for medical care. It is also an important source of aid for elderly people in nursing homes.
Eligible participants are low-income families with children, including pregnant women. Under Medicaid expansion, coverage will be available to all adults age 19-65 whose incomes fall below 138% of the federal poverty level.
How do I apply for Washington Apple Health?
Washington is operating a State-Based Marketplace, known as WA HealthPlanFinder — the official place where all uninsured residents of Washington State shop for health coverage.
Washington Apple Health for Kids #
Apple Health for Kids is a health insurance program for children up to age 19 in Washington who are not eligible for Medicaid and who are uninsured. It covers major medical with special preventive benefits for children, including dental coverage.
Apple Health for Kids is free for all children in families with monthly income up to $3,935 for a single mother of two. Families above that level, may have to pay a small premium for coverage. 1
How do I apply for Apple Health for Kids?
You can sign up online via WA HealthPlanFinder. If you sign up for coverage before or on the 15th of the month, your coverage will start the 1st of the next month.
Washington Charity Care Program #
Washington is one of a few states that have a law that requires all hospitals to provide free inpatient and outpatient care to very low income and/or uninsured patients.
Patients with incomes less than or equal to 100% FPL may receive free hospital care. Those with incomes between 100% and 200% FPL are eligible for discounted hospital care based on a sliding scale.
If you think you’re eligible, ask hospital staff for a Charity Care application and for their “Charity Care Policy” when you are first admitted to the hospital, or as soon as possible after that.
Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) #
WCCC helps low-income families in Washington pay for child care while they work or meet all TANF/WorkFirst requirements. Eligibility is based on income level and family size.
Families that qualify for the WCCCC program can choose their own child care provider. The state pays a portion of the cost of child care; while the parent is responsible to pay a co-payment to the provider each month.
How do I apply for child care assistance in Washington?
To find out if your family is eligible, call the DSHS Customer Service Call Center at 1-877-501-2233 or apply online through Washington Connection.
Washington Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) #
LIHEAP assists eligible low-income households in Washington in meeting their immediate home energy needs. If eligible, households receive a one-time credit deposited directly into their utility accounts — up to $600 2
The program is designed to help these families keep their heat on, especially those households that are most vulnerable, such as the elderly, the disabled, and households with young children.
How do I get energy assistance in Washington State?
To apply for LIHEAP, you must schedule an appointment with the agency that offers services in your area. Click here to view a county map and select the county you live in.
For more information, please contact the DOEE Energy Office by calling 311.
Washington Telephone Assistance Program (WTAP) #
The Washington Telephone Assistance Program (WTAP) provides low-income individuals a local, telephone landline for $8.00 a month. WTAP also pays for some or all of the connection fee.
For more information, please call
Utilities & Transportation Commission (UTC)
Washington Unemployment Insurance #
Unemployment insurance helps eligible workers who lost their job through no fault of their own by temporarily replacing part of their wages — for up to 26 weeks.
How much unemployment do I get in Washington?
In Washington, weekly benefit amounts range from a minimum of $188 to a maximum of $790. As a condition of eligibility, you are required to actively seek suitable employment each week that you’re filing for benefits.
If you live in Washington State, you may choose to file a new claim either online or over the phone by calling 1-800-318-6022 Monday through Friday.
Washington Paid Family Leave Program #
Washington is now among a handful of states that guarantee paid family leave. It is designed to provide partial wage replacement for pregnancy-related leaves as well as for bonding with a new child.
Washington’s is among the most generous of the bunch, covering at least 12 weeks of paid leave, plus another two for complicated pregnancies.
Weekly benefits are calculated based on a percentage of the employee’s wages and the state’s weekly average wage — up to 90% of their income but no more than $1,000 a week.
Can I use Paid Family and Medical Leave if I am sick with COVID-19?
As with any illness, to be eligible for paid medical leave, a healthcare provider must certify that you are unable to work due to a serious health condition.
However, Washington law requires employers to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.
If you are ill with COVID-19 and have access to employer-provided paid sick leave, you should consider using that first before applying for Paid Family and Medical Leave.
Washington College Grant #
Washington College Grant provides need-based financial aid to lowest-income students pursuing postsecondary education in Washington. Award amounts vary by the type of school enrolled.
To be eligible for the grant, applicants must have a household income that is less than 70% of the state’s median household income (MFI), while those with incomes below 50% of MFI will get the maximum award.
Completing the FAFSA is the first step of the application process. If you can’t fill out the FAFSA due to immigration status, you can apply by submitting the WASFA.
Washington Opportunity Grant #
Opportunity Grant is designed to help low-income adults in Washington pay for post-secondary education that will lead to higher wages in high-demand careers.
Applicants must demonstrate substantial financial need, as determined by the WAFSA, and have income not exceeding 200% of the federal poverty level.
If you qualify, you may receive funding for up to 45 credits of tuition — about $4000 and up to $1,000 per year for books and supplies. You may also get emergency child care, tutoring, and career advice.
- Find out about eligibility requirements for Washington Apple Health for Kids.
- On June 1, 2020, DOEE began providing emergency utility assistance to residents who owe $250 or more on a utility account.