What is it?
AR is a once-a-year cash payment. It is for emergency needs. DSHS gives you an extra payment to help you get or keep safe housing or utilities.
Can I get AR?
You can or already get Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), State Family Assistance (SFA), or Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA).
You got TANF in another state. You moved to Washington. You can get AR the same month you moved here.
You have not gotten AR in the past year.
Can AR cover my emergency needs for rent, security deposits, mortgage payments, taxes or fees?
Yes. You can use it to
Keep you from being evicted or having your home foreclosed
Get new housing or housing help, if you are escaping domestic violence or are homeless
Can AR help with home repairs?
Yes, if they cause a risk to health or safety. (Read Tenants: If You Need Repairs.) If it would cost less to move, DSHS will pay for your move instead.
Can AR help with utilities?
Yes. It can go to repairs, deposits, fees and services for electricity, water, sewer, and fuel for heating or cooking. DSHS will pay for basic local phone service if needed for your health and safety.
When will DSHS help?
You must have good reason for not meeting these needs. This can include:
An emergency, such as injury or illness
You had basic or emergency expenses for such things as shelter, food clothing, medical care needed for work or to cure pain, emergency childcare, or other expenses
You were involved in a disaster such as theft, house fire, flood, severe weather, accident, or medical emergency
Extra, short-term expenses caused by homelessness, domestic violence, or other situations put your family's health and safety at risk
DSHS lowered or ended your family's cash assistance due to income you actually cannot use
How much can I get?
You can get up to $750 in a 12-month period. DSHS will pay the least amount to get you through the emergency.
Can I get more than $750?
Maybe, if your emergency is about to cause a health or safety risk.
Will DSHS pay me directly?
No. DSHS pays AR to a third party. Examples:
DSHS turned me down for AR.
You can appeal. You must ask for an “administrative hearing” within 90 days of the denial.
How do I ask for a hearing?
Do both of these:
Call your worker or the administrative hearing coordinator at the DSHS office to ask for it.
- Put your hearing request in writing. Mail it to:
Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH)
P.O. Box 42489
Olympia, WA 98504
I need the hearing right away.
If it is an emergency, call the OAH at (360) 664-8717 or 1-800-583-8271. Ask them to schedule the hearing as soon as possible. This is an “expedited” hearing.
Would DSHS change its decision without us having a hearing?
Maybe. Talk to a supervisor or the administrator of the DSHS office. They might change the caseworker's decision. Do not withdraw (take back) your hearing request until you get written notice that you are getting AR after all.
Do I have to represent myself at the hearing?
Maybe not. Contact CLEAR. See below. Read Representing Yourself at an Administrative Hearing.
Does DSHS have other emergency cash assistance programs?
Diversion Cash Assistance (DCA)—if you choose not to apply for TANF.
Consolidated Emergency Assistance (CEAP)—if you cannot get TANF.
Disaster Cash Assistance Program (DCAP)—if you suffered losses in a place the Governor has declared a disaster.
Read DCA, CEAP, and/or Questions and Answers about the Disaster Cash Assistance Program (DCAP) during COVID-19.
Get Legal Help
Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help.