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

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

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What is CEAP?

This welfare (DSHS) program gives money to needy families, children, and pregnant women facing an emergency. You can get it only if you cannot get other assistance from DSHS.


Am I eligible to get CEAP?

Maybe. You are if one of these describes you:  

  • Family with needy children 17 years old or younger

  • Child age 17 or under. You are not living with a parent or relative now. You did within the past six months

  • Child at risk of foster care placement

  • Pregnant woman


How else do I qualify?

  • You need money to take care of a basic need, such as food, shelter or utilities.  

  • You live in the state of Washington.

  • You have not gotten CEAP in the past year.

  • Your take-home pay is less than 90% of the TANF payment standard, or it is over this amount but you spent it on medical bills, emergency childcare, dental care to address pain, or getting a job. Read Welfare Benefits: TANF Rules and Eligibility to learn more.  

  • No one in your household can get TANF, State-funded Assistance (SFA), Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA), ABD, or SSI. 


I have gotten CEAP in the past year, but the Governor has declared a public emergency. Can I get it again?

Yes. You can get CEAP more than once in 12 months if the Governor has declared an emergency.


I got a WorkFirst sanction. I cannot get TANF because now. Can we still get CEAP?



What emergency needs does CEAP cover?

  • Food

  • Shelter

  • Clothing

  • Minor medical needs

  • Utilities

  • Household maintenance

  • Trans­portation to get a child to child care

  • Job-related transportation or clothing


How much can I get?

It depends on your household size and emergency needs.  


Does DSHS count my income to decide how much CEAP I can get?  

Yes. If you think DSHS counted money that you cannot use, ask for a hearing. See below.


How do I apply?

Call the Customer Service Contact Center at 877-501-2233 or apply at  


DSHS turned me down for CEAP.

You can appeal. You must ask for an “administrative hearing” within ninety days of the denial. 


How do I ask for a hearing?

If DSHS denies your application and you believe you are eligible, you can appeal. Tell your DSHS worker you want a hearing or ask to fill out a hearing request form. Deadlines to ask for a hearing are short. Act fast! Read Representing Yourself at an Administrative Hearing.


What if I need a hearing right away?

If it is an emergency, call the Office of Administrative Hearings at (360) 664-8717 or 1-800-583-8271.  Ask them to schedule the hearing as soon as possible. This is an “expedited” hearing.


Could I get DSHS to change its mind without having to do a hearing?     

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


Can I get help with the hearing?

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


Could any other emergency programs help me?

Yes. There are two: 

  • Additional Requirements for Emergent Needs (AR) - extra emergency money if you already get TANF, or you have applied and you are eligible to get TANF.

  • Diversion Cash Assistance (DCA) - emergency money if you are eligible for TANF but do not apply for it. 

Read our fact sheets on AR and DCA.


Get Legal Help

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


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Last Review and Update: Jul 28, 2021
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