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WashingtonLawHelp.orgWashington LawHelp

Do You Need Food Assistance Right Away?

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project LSC Funded
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Information about who qualifies for emergency food assistance and what to do if you are denied. #7301EN


Please Note:

Read this only if you live in the state of Washington.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get food stamps right away (“expedited food assistance”)? +

Maybe, if one of these is true:

  • Your income for the month is $150 or less and you have limited cash available to you.
  • Your income and available cash are not enough to pay your rent or mortgage and utilities.

WAC 388-406-0015

How much help can I get? +

It will depend on your income and any expenses you have, such as housing and medical.

*If you do agricultural field work, there may be different eligibility requirements for you.

What DSHS count as income? +

It depends. DSHS does not count all types of income when deciding if you are eligible. Examples: They do not count tax refunds and some child support payments. WAC 388-450-0015.

Do I have other options? +

Maybe. You can get more help if the President (WAC 388-437-0001) or Governor (WAC 388-436-0055) has declared an emergency or disaster where you live.

How do I apply? +

You can


What if they turn down (deny) my application? +

You can appeal. Here is how you appeal:

  • Ask in writing for an administrative hearing. Write the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH):

    Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH)
    P.O. Box 42488
    Olympia, WA 98504


  • Call the local DSHS office. Ask for the Administrative Hearing Coordinator.


I need a hearing right away. +

If it is an emergency, call OAH at (360) 407-2700 or 1-800-583-8271. Ask them to hold the hearing as soon as possible. This is an “expedited” hearing. 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 30, 2021