powered by probono.net

To leave this site now, use the X button.
If you are in danger, please use a safer computer.
In an emergency, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (TTY 1-800-787-3224). Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear.

Text size: A A A

WashingtonLawHelp.orgWashington LawHelp

DSHS Benefits and Lump Sum Payments

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project LSC Funded

A lump sum is any money you get once and do not expect to get regularly. Examples are 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 these payments to DSHS. Publication #7140EN


Download | Printer-friendly

Read Online

What is a lump sum payment? – WAC 388-455-0005

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

  • Settlement from a court case.

  • Insurance claim.

  • Back payment of benefits you are owed (such as from Social Security or L&I).

I get cash or food assistance. I just got a lump sum payment. Do I have to report it?

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.

Will the lump sum affect my food assistance?

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

Will the lump sum affect my cash assistance?

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.

Can I put the lump sum in a bank account or buy a car with it?

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

I got a lump sum payment. I cannot get cash and food assistance. Can I still get medical assistance?

Maybe.  Some medical programs have no resource limits.  Others have higher income limits than TANF does.  You may be eligible for other medical assistance.  Ask to 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 February 2019.


© 2019 Northwest Justice Project — 1-888-201-1014.
(Permission for copying and distribution granted to the Alliance for Equal Justice and to individuals for non-commercial purposes only.)


Last Review and Update: Feb 21, 2019