While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the LIHEAP program and compiled a guide and the following answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing useful information on the process.
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The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides financial assistance to low-income families. The goal of TANF is to help families become financially self-sufficient. States and U.S. Territories receive block grants from the federal government, which are used to fund each state and territory’s specific TANF program.
Learn more about the TANF program and its primary purposes here.
In Washington, the TANF program is known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in Washington (TANF). To learn more about TANF and the assistance benefits it provides, visit the Washington Department of Social and Health Services website here.
Temporary Assistance for Families in Washington (TANF) provides temporary assistance to financially support families in need. The TANF program also provides eligible families with work preparation services to help them re-enter the workforce or find more stable employment.
For more information on the services, the TANF program provides to participating families, review the Washington TANF manual found here.
TANF and Food Assistance are both assistance programs administered by the Washington Department of Social and Health Services. While Food Assistance benefits can only be used to purchase foods that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, TANF benefits are money that can be used however the participant sees fit, with some restrictions.
To learn more about the restrictions on TANF expenditures, visit the TANF website here.
Both TANF and Food Assistance benefits can be given to participants on an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. However, TANF benefits can be transferred directly into a participant’s bank account or withdrawn from an approved ATM. Food Assistance benefits cannot.
Many TANF participants also qualify for Food Assistance due to the low-income requirement of both programs. For more information about Food Assistance, click here.
To apply for Food Assistance and/or TANF, visit the Washington Benefit Portal here.
If you have questions about TANF or Food Assistance, call the Department of Social and Health Services at 1 (800) 865-7801.
The exact benefit amount a family will receive each month will depend on their household income, size and resources.
For example, eligible families of 3 can receive a maximum of $569 per month. Families can receive these benefits for up to 24 months throughout their lifetime.
Learn more information about TANF and benefit amounts in Washington here.
To qualify for TANF in Washington, you must meet the following requirements:
Learn more about income requirements and work and training requirements here.
Caretakers of children who cannot be taken care of by their immediate family may also qualify for benefits under the Caretaker Relative Grant or Child-Only TANF Grant. This grant takes into consideration the situation of emergency caregivers and will only count the resources and the income of the child (if any) and not those of the caretaker.
To learn more about who can receive TANF benefits, click here.
Before you apply for Temporary Assistance for Families in Washington, complete the following three steps:
Learn about the TANF eligibility requirements here.
Find a list of what you need to apply on the Washington Department of Social and Health Services website here.
To apply for TANF online, create an account on Washington’s Assistance Portal here and fill out the TANF application.
To apply for TANF in person, click here to find the DSHS office location closest to you. You will need to take proof of your identity and a filled out application form, which can find here.
To apply for TANF by fax, fill out the Application for Assistance found here and send it with copies of your necessary documents to 1 (888) 338-7410.
To apply for TANF by mail, fill out the Application for Assistance found here and send it with copies of your necessary documents to the following address:
DSHS CSD-Customer Service Center
PO Box 11699 Tacoma, WA 98411-6699
If you have questions about the application process or require assistance, contact the Washington Department of Social and Health Services at 1 (800) 865-7801.
If you need an Application for Benefits in a different language, click here.
Depending on your method of application, you can check your application status in the following ways:
If you applied for TANF online, in person, by mail or by fax, you will receive a notice in the mail from the Department of Social and Health Services within 30 days of receiving your application with your determination, your benefit amount and how you will be receiving the benefits, if you are eligible.
If you have a valid bank account listed on your application, your TANF benefits will be deposited within 14 days of when you receive your determination letter. Otherwise, you will receive an EBT card in the mail within 14 days.
Once you receive your benefits, you can use them to support your family as you see fit, while following the restrictions.
Note that if you receive an EBT card, you will only be allowed to purchase items at stores that display the Quest Logo, and you can only withdraw cash from ATMs that display the Quest Logo.
Learn more information about how to use your EBT card and how benefits will be distributed here.
If you require additional assistance or have questions about your determination call 1 (800) 865-7801.
If you do not agree with the benefit decision given to you by the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), you can appeal your decision by mail within 30 days of receiving your determination letter.
To file an appeal and request a Fair Hearing by mail, you will need to write a letter that includes the following information:
You must also enclose a copy of your determination letter when filing an appeal by mail.
Once you have completed your hearing request letter and made a copy of your determination letter, you can mail all of your documents to the following address:
Office of Administrative Hearings
PO Box 42489
Olympia, WA 98504-2489
If you have any further questions about the appeals process, click here.
For help with obtaining SNAP benefits, or for any further questions about your application, call the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) at 1 (800) 865-7801.
To send the Washington Department of Social and Health Services information physically, you can mail your documents or questions the following address:
DSHS CSD - Customer Service Center
PO BOX 11699
Tacoma, WA 98411-6699
You can also visit or call a local DSHS Office for further assistance. Find your nearest location here.
If you have questions related to your EBT card, call (888) 328-9271.
Offices and services are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and compiled a guide and these answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing useful information on the process.
Our free TANF Guide is filled with helpful information about how to apply, program eligibility requirements and how to get in touch with local offices. You can view or download our free guide here.