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How DSHS Treats Lump Sum Payments

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project LSC Funded

7140EN - Information you should know if you receive a lump sum payment from DSHS.

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What is a lump sum payment?

A lump sum payment is any money you receive that you do not expect to get receive on a regular basis.  It could be a Some examples:

  • settlement from a court case,
  • an insurance claim, or
  • a retroactive payment of benefits you are owed (such as from Social Security or L&I).

I am getting cash, food, or medical assistance. Do I have to report receipt of a lump sum payment to DSHS?

Yes.  You must report the receipt of the money by the tenth day of the following month.  Example: you get a $5,000 settlement on May 20th.  You must report it to DSHS by June 10th.

How will receipt of a lump sum affect my assistance?

That depends on what kind of assistance you are getting and what kind of lump sum payment you getting. 

For food assistance, a lump sum payment for a previous period counts as a resource.  A lump sum for current or future months counts as income.

For cash and family medical, a lump sum payment is counted as a resource if it was awarded for wrongful death, personal injury, damage or loss of property.  A lump sum received for any other reason is counted as income.

But for cash and family medical, if the lump sum is to replace lost, stolen or damaged property or to pay medical bills, the funds are not counted as income or resources for 60 days.  The 60-day period starts the month after you get the payment.  Money left over after the 60 days is treated as a resource.  As a TANF recipient, you may have up to $3,000 in a savings account, a home, household furnishings, and a vehicle worth up to $5,000 (the entire value of one vehicle is excluded if it is used to transport a physically disabled member of your household).  These are “exempt resources.”  You can still be eligible for TANF if your non-exempt assets do not exceed $1,000 in value.

** Only a TANF recipient may have up to $3,000 in savings.  This exemption does not apply to an applicant for TANF.

Can I still get medical assistance, even if getting a lump sum makes me ineligible for cash and food assistance?

Possibly - some medical programs have no resource limits and some have higher income limits than TANF does.  Depending on your individual situation, you and your family may qualify for other medical assistance.   You should be sure to ask that you be considered for all available medical programs.



This publication provides general information concerning your rights and responsibilities. It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice.
This information is current as of the date of its printing,
January 2012.

© 2012 Northwest Justice Project. 1-888-201-1014
(Permission for copying and distribution granted to the Alliance for Equal Justice and individuals for non-commercial use only.)

Last Review and Update: Feb 01, 2012