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Food Stamps

Washington Food Stamp Program

Washington food stamps provide enrolled families that are struggling financially with the funds they need to buy healthy groceries. Also called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), beneficiaries enrolled in SNAP in Washington are awarded monetary allotments so they can go grocery shopping. Without access to these funds, many households throughout the state would be unable to maintain healthy diets or even be able to buy enough food to sustain themselves.

The WA food assistance program, which is called Basic Food throughout the state, is very similar to other versions of the program that exist in different parts of the country. Since SNAP is funded on a federal level, programs in the U.S. are required to have several factors in common. There are national regulations and procedures that each state must follow to receive federal funding for the program. However, individual state governments manage and oversee their own SNAP food stamps programs. In Washington, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is the body of government that controls this initiative. Therefore, petitioners need to be sure that they understand SNAP guidelines before they submit their claims to the DSHS. Applicants who understand the food stamp requirements and procedures before they apply should encounter less difficulty when it comes to receiving benefits to help with purchasing foods.

What are food stamps in Washington?

Claimants who are permitted to accept SNAP food benefits in Washington will find this program to be supportive and financially helpful. With these food stamps benefits, enrollees are able to purchase many different types of foods and beverages. SNAP was created by the federal government as a way to supply low-income households with the financial means to buy nutritious foods at the grocery store. Food insecurity is a major problem throughout the United States, and many families who go to the supermarket cannot afford to purchase high-quality foods. However, SNAP benefits and the food stamps program aims to counteract these issues.

SNAP enrollees who collect food assistance benefits in Washington can use their funds to buy various types of consumable goods. For example, beneficiaries can purchase foods from the basic food groups, including fresh meat, seafood, vegetables and fruit. However, claimants may not buy:

  • Inedible household products.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Tobacco products.
  • Vitamins and certain energy drinks.
  • Animal food.
  • Hot, premade meals.

Washington Food Stamps Requirements

Applicants must meet the Washington food stamps requirements before they can collect Basic Food benefits in the state. Examples of these prerequisites include:

  • Citizenship or qualifying immigration status: Petitioners need to be U.S. citizens or legal residents to receive SNAP.
  • Washington residency: The requirements for food stamps indicate that applicants need to live in the state to collect benefits through the program.
  • Monthly income: Claimants need to earn monthly gross and net income amounts that are within the state’s predetermined income threshold.
  • Household assets: Applicants may not possess household assets that total less than $2,250. For households with at least one family member who is disabled or elderly, this limit rises to $3,500.
  • Work requirements: Food stamps eligibility rules state that claimants who are physically able to work must be employed. Alternatively, applicants who are not working must be enrolled in approved training programs and actively searching for work.

How to Apply for Food Stamps in Washington

Candidates wondering how to apply for food stamps should review the three main ways they can submit their petitions to the DSHS. These methods are as follows:

  • Contacting the Community Services Office (CSO): Applicants can call or visit the CSO and request paper copies of petition forms. When petitioners call the office and request applications, representatives will generally mail forms directly to the candidates.
  • Submitting an online food stamps application: Petitioners can create online profiles on the state’s website and file their SNAP petitions on the computer.
  • Downloading applications: Candidates who would like to print copies of their applications and fill them out at home may do so by visiting the DSHS’s website. After filling them out, petitioners need to deliver their completed applications to the department.

Preparing for the Washington Food Stamps Interview

Most claimants will need to complete a Washington food stamps interview before they can receive Basic Food benefits. These conversations help DSHS case workers to be sure that petitioners are truly qualified to receive program funds. The interviews are also helpful for the applicants as well. During these meetings, candidates can provide documentation that validates specific facts they mentioned in their program applications.

Specifically, petitioners who want to know, “What do you need for a food stamps interview in WA?” should bring proof of enrollment. Examples of documents include proof of:

  • Identity.
  • Address.
  • Immigration status.
  • Income.
  • Expenses and deductibles.
  • Assets and investments.

How to Use the Washington EBT Card

The Washington EBT card, which is also called the Quest Card, is how SNAP enrollees are able to access their program funds. EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer, which refers to how food stamps programs across the country distribute monthly funding allotments to enrollees. Oftentimes, new Basic Food enrollees want to know, “How long does it take to get a Washington EBT card?” or even where they can use their benefits once they receive them. Claimants will receive their cards soon after the DSHS finalizes their acceptances into the program. Furthermore, enrollees can use their benefits at many different supermarkets and farmer’s markets in their local communities. Generally, beneficiaries can find out which stores accept EBT by looking at the establishments’ windows. Stores usually display signs that indicate food stamps are accepted so enrollees have this information before they enter.

Once beneficiaries have their cards, they may review their EBT card balance and general enrollment information online. When they are ready to make their purchases, program participants will find that they can use their EBT cards just like debits cards they receive from the bank. All petitioners need to do to access their benefits at point-of-sale (POS) terminals is swipe their cards and enter their personal identification numbers (PINs) into the keypads.

How to Appeal a Washington Food Stamps Denial

Claimants must file their Washington food stamps denial appeals within 90 days from when their determination notices are postmarked. In these instances, petitioners are requesting fair hearings to have program professionals review their cases. Petitioners who are notified that their food stamps application was denied must submit the following information to the Office of Administrative Hearing (OAH):

  • Who they are.
  • What decisions they are appealing.
  • Why they do not believe the DSHS made the correct determinations regarding their cases.

How to Renew Your Food Stamps in Washington

Enrollees who want to continue receiving SNAP must file a WA food stamps renewal application to the DSHS. Claimants may choose to:

  • Renew food stamps online.
  • Apply by completing the interactive Automated Client Eligibility System (ACES) Application for Benefits.
  • File a paper application to request reenrollment.

After petitioners file their renewal requests, they will need to submit proof that they still qualify for SNAP. Generally, claimants have until the end of their current claims to provide the DSHS with all the documents the department requests. In some instances, the department will also give the applicants a 10-day time frame to fully submit their proofs of program eligibility. However, claimants who miss these deadlines will likely need to completely reapply for food stamps benefits.


What income do you need to have in order to be eligible for food stamps in Washington?

The amount of food stamps benefits you qualify for is directly related to your income and the number of people in your household. Below is a list of the maximum allowable income in order to qualify for food stamps as it relates to the number of household members for the State of Washington.
1 $1,276
2 $1,726
3 $2,177
4 $2,628
5 $3,078
6 $3,529
7 $3,980
8 $4,430
9 $4,881
10 $5,332
11 $5,783
12 $5,234
13 $6,685
14 $7,136
15 $7,587
16 $8,038
17 $8,489
18 $8,940
19 $9,391
20 $9,842

Can I apply for food stamps in another language?

Yes. By visiting Washington’s government website at, you can apply for food stamps online in Spanish, Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, Laotian, Russian, Somali and Vietnamese. If you still need further assistance, you can always visit your local community services office.

What is considered a “household member”?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) defines a household as anyone who lives and purchases/prepares food together. A household member may qualify for food stamps on their own and separate from the rest of the household if they are 60 years of age or older, or if they have a disability.

Who is eligible for food stamps in Washington?

All Washington State residents who meet the program and citizenship/alien status requirements may qualify for food stamps. If you are a legal immigrant who does not qualify for SNAP benefits because of your immigration status, you may qualify for the state’s Food Assistance Program (FAP).

Helpful Links : You can visit the Washington food stamps website here.