Additional Requirements for Emergency Needs (AREN)

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project LSC Funded
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What is Additional Requirements for Emergency Needs?

If you apply and qualify for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), State Financial Assistance (SFA), or a Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) welfare grant and you have an emergency, you may be eligible to get "Additional Requirements," also known as AREN. AREN is one-time financial assistance for emergency needs. This publication explains who can get AREN and when you can get it.
AREN is an extra payment made for some emergency needs. You can get AREN more than once, but there is a $750 lifetime limit.
DSHS pays the least amount needed to get your family through the emergency.

Am I eligible for AR?

Yes, if:

  • You have applied and qualify for or already get TANF, SFA or RCA.

  • You got TANF in another state and moved to Washington. You are eligible for AREN in the same month that you moved here.

  • No adults in your household have reached their $750 lifetime limit for AREN.

  • If you do not get or want to get TANF, SFA, or RCA, you may not get AREN to help with one-time emergency needs. DSHS will look at your eligibility for another emergency cash assistance program called Diversion Cash Assistance (DCA).

What emergency needs does AR cover?

Rent, security deposits, mortgage payments, taxes or fees to:

  • prevent eviction or foreclosure; or

  • get new housing or housing subsidies. You can get help if you are fleeing domestic violence or you are homeless.

Needed repairs for damages or defects to your home that cause a risk to your health or safety. If you rent, DSHS will help you only after you have written the landlord asking for the repairs (as provided in the Residential Landlord Tenant Act at RCW ch. 59.18.)  Also, if it would cost less for you to move, DSHS will not pay for repairs.

Utilities help:  Repairs, deposits, fees and services needed for electricity, water, sewer and fuel for heating and cooking. DSHS will also pay for basic local phone service if needed for your basic health and safety.

When will DSHS help?

You must have a good reason for not having enough funds to meet your housing or utility needs. "Good reason" includes the following:

  • you had an emergency situation, such as an injury or illness

  • you had necessary or emergency expenses for such items as shelter, food clothing, medical care needed for employment or to cure pain, emergency child care or other reasonable and necessary expenses

  • you were involved in a disaster such as theft, house fire, flood, severe weather accident or medical emergency

  • you have extra, short-term expenses caused by homelessness, domestic violence, or other situations that threaten your family's health and safety

  • your family's cash grant has been lowered or cut off due to expected or budgeted income that will not actually be available.

To get AREN, you must show how you will meet your needs in the future.

How much may I get?

  • You may get up to $750 in addition to the amount of your grant.

  • You can get AREN more than once, but there is a $750 lifetime limit.

  • DSHS may approve a payment above $750 if your health and safety are in imminent danger.

  • DSHS will pay the least amount needed to get you through the emergency.

How are AREN benefits paid?

DSHS will not pay AREN benefits directly to you. DSHS will pay the third party, such as the utility company or the landlord.

If your caseworker denies your request, ask to speak with a supervisor or the administrator of the DSHS office. The supervisor or administrator may change the caseworker's decision and grant your request.

What if I am denied Additional Requirements?

If you are denied AREN, ask DSHS to put it in writing. You have the right to a fair hearing. (Even if DSHS does not deny you in writing, you can still ask for a fair hearing based on what the DSHS worker told you.)  To ask for a fair hearing, fill out a fair hearing request at your local DSHS office, or write to Office of Administrative Hearings, P.O. Box 42489, Olympia, WA 98504. If it is an emergency, ask for an "expedited"(faster than usual) fair hearing by calling the office of administrative hearings at (360) 664-8717 or 1-800-583-8271.

If you decide to go ahead with the hearing, see our publication called Representing Yourself at a Fair Hearing. You should also get legal advice:

  • If you are low-income and live outside King County, call CLEAR at 1-888-201-1014 weekdays between 9:10 a.m. and 12:25 p.m.

  • If you live in King County, call the King County Bar Association's Neighborhood Legal Clinics at (206) 267-7070 between 9:00 a.m. and noon, Monday – Thursday, to schedule a free half-hour of legal advice.



This publication provides general information concerning your rights and responsibilities. It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice.
This information is current as of February 2013.

© 2013 Northwest Justice Project. 1-888-201-1014
(Permission for copying and distribution granted to the Alliance for Equal Justice and individuals for non-commercial use only.)