Consolidated Emergency Assistance Program (CEAP): Extra Money for Needy Families

Read this in: Spanish / Español

Learn more about this state emergency cash assistance program for families who cannot get TANF. #7106EN

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

This state (DSHS) program gives money to needy families, children, and pregnant women living in Washington State who are facing an emergency. You can get this help only if you are not eligible to get other types of assistance from DSHS.

Maybe. You are if one of these describes you:  

  • You are the head of a family with needy children 17 years old or younger

  • You are age 17 or under. You are not living with a parent or relative now, but you did within the past 6 months

  • You are age 17 or younger and at risk of foster care placement

  • You are pregnant

  • You have a very low income and meet the financial requirements for TANF. Read Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF: The Basics to learn more.  

  • For reasons unrelated to financial eligibility, no one in your household is eligible to get TANF or other monthly cash assistance. Example 1: you might not have the required immigration status to get TANF. Example 2: you might have lost TANF because you didn't meet WorkFirst rules.

Once DSHS finds you are eligible, DSHS can help you once every 12 months for a 30-day period. For example, if DSHS determines you are eligible for CEAP assistance on March 2, you can get help paying the rent the next day. When your utility bill comes in on March 14, they can help with that too.

*You can be eligible to get CEAP more than once in 12 months if the Governor has declared an emergency.


CEAP can help with your food, shelter, clothing, minor medical needs, utilities, household maintenance, trans­portation to get your child to childcare, and your job-related transportation or clothing.

It depends on your household size and emergency needs. You can read the state rule about this at WAC 388-436-0050.

Yes. If you think DSHS counted your income wrong, you can ask for a hearing. See "How do I ask for a hearing," below.

You can call the Customer Service Contact Center at 877-501-2233 or apply at  

You can appeal by asking for an administrative hearing. You have up to 90 days from the date of DSHS' denial notice to do this. Starting July 1, 2023, if circumstances beyond your control, such as medical issues, housing instability, language barriers, or domestic violence, keep you from meeting that deadline, you should still ask for a hearing as soon as you can.

There are different ways you can do this.
In writing: Write the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), P.O. Box 42488,
Olympia, WA 98504.

Verbally: You can call OAH at (360) 407-2700 or 1-800-583-8271 or tell DSHS that you want a hearing. DSHS may have you follow up with a written request.

If it is an emergency, you should call OAH to ask them to hold the hearing as soon as possible. This is called an expedited hearing. Otherwise, your hearing will likely be 20 days or more after you ask for it.

Maybe not. Contact CLEAR. See contact info below. Read Representing Yourself at an Administrative Hearing to learn more.

Maybe. Talk to a supervisor or the administrator of the DSHS office. They might change the decision. Do not cancel (do not withdraw) your hearing request until you get written notice of the award.

Maybe. Your local legal aid office or welfare rights organization might be able to help. See contact information below.

Yes. There are 2 other programs: 

Get Legal Help

Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help. 

Download | Printer-friendly

Last Review and Update: Jan 31, 2024
Was this information helpful?
Volver arriba