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WashingtonLawHelp.orgWashington LawHelp

Questions and Answers about the Disaster Cash Assistance Program (DCAP) during COVID-19

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
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Learn how this program operates, and how you qualify and apply. #7941EN


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What is DCAP?

This program helps individuals and families facing an emergency who do not have enough money to meet basic needs. On April 17, DSHS started DCAP up after the Governor declared a statewide emergency due to COVID-19.
Can I get help from DCAP?
Yes, if all of these are true:

  • You suffered loss of income or property. This includes losing the ability to work.

  • You live in the state of Washington. Your home here is your primary home. You were living in it when the Governor declared the statewide emergency.

  • You meet income requirements. See below.

What are the income requirements for DCAP?

You and everyone in your household must not be eligible for any other program that could help meet basic needs. You cannot be eligible for TANF, SFA, Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA), Refugee cash assistance (RCA), Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD), Supplemental security income (SSI), Food assistance, housing assistance, unemployment compensation, veteran's benefits, industrial insurance benefits, Social Security benefits, and/or pension benefits. This is not a complete list.

  • DSHS may make you or someone in your household apply for one or more of these benefits.  

I don’t have legal immigration status. Can I get DCAP?

Yes. Your immigration status does not matter for DCAP.  You do not need to give a Social Security number to apply.
When you apply, DSHS does ask about your immigration status. This is just to make sure you are not eligible for other programs listed above. DSHS should keep confidential the information you give them. They should only use it to figure out if you are eligible for benefits.
If I get DCAP benefits, should I worry about public charge?
No. Immigration officials will not consider DCAP benefits in the public charge test.
Immigration officials will consider other kinds of cash assistance in the public charge test. They will consider TANF, SFA, and ABD, among others.   

If DSHS tells you that you or other family members are eligible for another cash assistance program instead of DCAP, ask that the grant only be for family members who are U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, refugees or asylees. If you or any family members have a different status, talk to a lawyer before enrolling, or soon after. See contact information below.

How much assistance can I get from DCAP?

It depends on your income after certain deductions, resources, and household size. Depending on how much you need, you can get up to the TANF payment amount for your household size.  Different size households have different payment maximums for different emergency needs.  

What can I use DCAP assistance for?

You must show financial need for help with at least one of these: food, shelter, clothing, medical care of your minor children, utilities, household cleaning supplies, or clothing or transportation needed for a job.

Do I have to give DSHS proof of my income, resources, and expenses?

DSHS does not usually ask for proof. They will ask if they question your reporting.

How long can I get help from DCAP?

It is available for up to 30 days in a row during a 12-month period.

How do I apply for DCAP?  

Call the Customer Service Contact Center at 877-501-2233 or apply at WashingtonConnection.org.

What if I am denied DCAP?

If DSHS denies your application and you believe you are eligible, you can appeal. Tell your DSHS worker you want an administrative hearing or ask to fill out a hearing request form. Deadlines to ask for a hearing are short. Act fast! Read Representing Yourself at an Administrative Hearing.

Get Legal Help

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

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Last Review and Update: May 05, 2020