Washington WorkFirst

WorkFirst is Washington’s welfare 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.

Benefits are based on your family size and income. For example, a family of three, with no income, would receive a monthly cash payment of $569.

In addition, while searching for work, you may also get help paying for child care expenses through the Working Connections Child Care program.

FAQ #


Who qualifies for welfare in Washington State? #

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In order to qualify for WorkFirst, you must:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen or legal alien, or permanent resident
  2. Be a resident of Washington State
  3. Be either pregnant or responsible for a child under 19 years of age
  4. Be unemployed or under employed (working for very low wages)
  5. Have income and assets below TANF limits

How do I apply for TANF in Washington State? #

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To apply for WorkFirst, you can request for an application at your local Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) near you. Find your local DSHS office.

Alternatively, you may 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.