Diversion Cash Assistance (DCA): Emergency cash help

Diversion Cash Assistance (DCA) is an emergency grant to a family facing a temporary financial crisis. #7121EN

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you live in Washington State, and you have a low income, you might be eligible for this one-time emergency cash payment. DCA is intended to help you during a temporary crisis. You can get a payment of up to $1,250 in any year to help with living expenses.

DCA can cover many short-term needs. Here are some examples:

  • help with transportation, such as car repairs
  • childcare
  • medical
  • housing
  • food expenses

Yes, if you are eligible to get Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA). Your family must choose between TANF (or SFA) and DCA. You cannot get both at the same time.

You can get DCA if DSHS can expect the DCA to keep you from needing TANF.

No. You cannot get DCA if your TANF stopped because of a Workfirst sanction or you did not give DSHS needed information to collect child support from the other parent.

You can apply online at washingtonconnection.org/home/home.go or by calling the Customer Service Contact Center at 877-501-2233.

Yes. Do not apply if you think you may have to apply for TANF in the next year. You will have to pay back part of the DCA. You will get a lot more TANF in a year than you would a one-time DCA payment.

Example: Your family of 3 chose to get $1,250 in DCA. Nine months later, you apply for TANF. You must repay $312. DSHS will collect this $312 by lowering your monthly TANF amount by 5% until the $312 is paid back.

If you had chosen to get TANF instead, you could have gotten $654 a month for the entire year, for a total of $7,848.

DSHS will not collect the repayment if you go off TANF.


  • Additional Requirements (AR) is extra emergency money for families who already get or can get TANF. Read Additional Requirements to learn more.
  • Consolidated Emergency Assistance Program (CEAP) is extra emergency money for families who cannot get TANF or other ongoing cash help. Read CEAP to learn more.    
  •  Disaster Cash Assistance Program (DCAP) is emergency money you may be eligible to get if you suffered losses in a place the Governor has declared a disaster. Read bit.ly/3qEdp7c to learn more.

Maybe. When you apply for DCA, you can also ask for food assistance and/or childcare assistance.

Yes. Here's how:  

  • Online:  You can apply at wahealthplanfinder.org.
  • Phone or other ways: If you have no internet access or have trouble with the online application, call the hotline. The number is 1-855-923-4633 (1-855-WAFINDE).

You can appeal by asking for an administrative hearing. You have up to 90 days from the date of the 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 anexpedited hearing. Otherwise, your hearing will probably be 20 days or more after you ask for it.

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

Get Legal Help

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

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Last Review and Update: Sep 07, 2023
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