DSHS benefits and lump sum payments

Read this if you get DSHS benefits and then you get a one-time payment such as a settlement from a court case, insurance claims or a back payment of benefits you are owed (such as from Social Security or L&I). You must report this kind of payment to DSHS. Publication #7140EN

Please Note:

  • Read this only if you live in the state of Washington.
  • If you get public benefits like SSI, food stamps, or TANF, and you have gotten legal financial obligations (LFOs) refunded by the Court, you may need to follow “spend down requirements” to keep getting benefits. You should tell DSHS about this refund as soon as possible. If you have questions, call CLEAR at 1-888-201-1014 or see contact info below.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

It is money you get once.  You do not expect to get it regularly.


  • Settlement from a court case.
  • Insurance claim.
  • Back payment of benefits you are owed (such as from Social Security or L&I).
  • A one-time settlement payment in a divorce does not count as a lump sum settlement.

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

Yes.  If you get food stamps, a lump sum payment for a past period is a resource.  A lump sum for current or future months is income.

It depends.  If you get cash assistance, a lump sum payment awarded for wrongful death, personal injury, damage or loss of property counts as a resource. A lump sum you get for any other reason is income.
If you get cash assistance and you get a lump sum to replace lost, stolen, or damaged property or pay medical bills, the funds do not count as income or resources for 60 days.  The 60-day period starts the month after you get the payment.  DSHS treats money left over after the 60 days as a resource.

Maybe.  You can have up to $6,000 in a savings account and a vehicle worth up to $10,000.  DSHS does not count (excludes) the entire value of one vehicle you use to transport a physically disabled household member.    


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Last Review and Update: Jul 14, 2022
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