Benefit Issuances - When and How Benefits are Delivered
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Benefit Issuances - When and How Benefits are Delivered

Revised December 6, 2013

WAC 388-412-0020When do I get my benefits?
WAC 388-412-0025How do I receive my benefits?


See Issuances

WAC 388-412-0020

WAC 388-412-0020

Effective December 1, 2003

WAC 388-412-0020 When do I get my benefits?

  1. If you get your cash benefits on an electronic benefits card (EBT), you get your cash benefits deposited on the first of each month. 

  2. If you get your cash benefits deposited directly to your bank account, electronic funds transfer (EFT), your money is deposited on the first working day of the month.  When the first of the month is a federal holiday or a Sunday, the benefits are deposited the following day.

  3. If you get Basic Food your benefits are issued by the tenth day of each month.  The day you get your benefits is the same as the last number of your Assistance Unit (AU) number for Basic Food.  If the last number of your AU number is zero, you get your benefits on the tenth.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

WAC 388-412-0025

WAC 388-412-0025

Effective July 29, 2012

WAC 388-412-0025 How do I receive my benefits?

  1. You can choose to get your cash benefits by:
    1. Electronic benefit transfer (EBT), which is a direct deposit into a DSHS account that you access with a debit card called the Washington EBT Quest card;
    2. Electronic funds transfer (EFT), which is a direct deposit into your own bank account;
    3. A warrant (check) to an approved authorized representative (AREP) ;
    4. A warrant (check) to a payee who is not approved for direct deposit; or
    5. A warrant (check) to you if you get:
      1. Diversion cash assistance (DCA) that is not paid directly to a vendor;
      2. Ongoing additional requirements (OAR) that cannot be paid directly to a vendor; or
      3. Clothing and personal incidentals (CPI) payments.
  2. We send your Basic Food benefits to you by EBT.
  3. EBT accounts:

    1. We set up an EBT account for the head of household of each assistance unit (AU) that receives benefits by EBT.
    2. You use a Quest debit card to access your benefits in your EBT account. You select a personal identification number (PIN) that you must enter when using this card.
    3. You must use your cash and Basic Food benefits from your EBT account. We cannot transfer cash to your bank account or change cash or Basic Food benefits to checks.
    4. Unused EBT benefits: If you do not use your EBT account within three hundred sixty-five days, we cancel the cash and Basic Food benefits on your account.
  4. Replacing benefits:
    1. Replacing Basic Food benefits:
      1. We can replace cancelled benefits we deposited less than three hundred sixty-five days from the date you ask for us to replace your benefits.
      2. We cannot replace cancelled benefits deposited three hundred sixty-five or more days from the date you ask us to replace your benefits.
    2. Replacing cash benefits: We can replace cancelled cash benefits for you or another member of your assistance unit. Cash benefits are not transferable to someone outside of your assistance unit.
    3. Replacing cash warrants:
      1. If we issued you cash benefits as a warrant we can replace these benefits for you or a member of your assistance unit. Cash benefits are not transferable to someone outside of your assistance unit.
      2. If we issued the benefits as a warrant one hundred sixty or fewer days ago, your local office can replace the warrant.
      3. If we issued the benefits as a warrant more than one hundred sixty days ago, the Office of Accounting Services (OAS) can replace the warrant. We will contact OAS with the request.
  5. Correcting your EBT balance: When you make a purchase with your EBT card a system error can occur where the purchase amount is not deducted from your EBT account. When the error is discovered the following will happen:
    1. You will be notified in writing of the system error before the money is removed from your account; and
    2. You will have ninety days to request an administrative hearing. If you ask for an administrative hearing within ten calendar days, the money will not be removed from your EBT account unless:
      1. You withdraw your administrative hearing request in writing;
      2. You do not follow through with the administrative hearing process; or
      3. The administrative law judge tells us in writing to remove the money.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.


1.     Washington’s Quest Card:

a.  Most initial EBT cards and all Alternate Cardholder cards are issued over the counter by the local office.  Replacement cards can be issued over the counter if a client meets one of the following criteria:

i.  An administrative error was made while issuing the previous card;

ii. The client lives in a domestic violence (DV) shelter;

iii. The client has a General Delivery address;

iv. The previous card was destroyed in a natural disaster;

v.  The previous card was mailed to the wrong address or was returned to JP Morgan; or

vi. The client's case is closed and their address is incorrect in the JP Morgan system.

b.  Clients requesting a replacement card or who are unable to come to the office for an initial card, receive their cards by mail through the EBT card vendor.

  • Mailed cards could take seven to ten business days to arrive.

c.  The Washington State Quest Card is accepted in most ATMs and food retailers across the country.

2.   When EBT benefits can be cancelled (Pending Voids):

      A "pending void" applies to a window of time between ACES deadline and when the funds become available to the client. You cannot void a partial amount. The full issuance amount must be voided.

To process a "pending void", the following conditions must occur:

a.   Issuance has occurred for the benefit month;

b.   The cash case is closed fo r one of the following ACES reason codes:

  • (226) Institutionalization
  • (244) Head of household not eligible
  • (557) AU request
  • (551) Whereabouts unknown
  • (249) Receiving benefits in another State
  • (569) Member removed from home to go into foster care
  • (210) (248) Failed residency requirements (Every individual has to be closed with reason code 210, causing the AU to be closed for reason code 248 before the pending void action applies).

 c.    The Basic Food case is closed for one of the following ACES reason codes:

  • (244) Death of all AU members
  • (557) Household request
  • (251) Recipient of assistance in another State

3.  EBT benefits can be recovered from EBT account prior to be expunged:

Benefits may be removed from an account when we discover that a client is deceased and there are no other eligible members.  If the client died prior to the issuance month for cash benefits, we attempt a pending void to get the benefits back.  If we cannot complete a pending void, we contact EBT headquarters staff to remove the issuance month’s benefits.  The case is then closed in ACES (See ACES User Manual,  Close an Assistance Unit/Client, Manually Close an AU/Client).

4.    Cancelled (expunged) benefits:

Benefits in an EBT cash or food account that are cancelled (expunged) if there is no withdrawal/debit from the account for 365 days.  Cash and Basic Food accounts age separately depending on the last withdrawal date from the specific account. A debit in one account does not update the inactive status of the other account.


If benefits are deposited into an EBT account just before the benefits are expunged, the new deposit will also be expunged along with the stale (inactive) benefits.

If the household asks us to replace the benefits, the worker should notify State Office EBT staff to replace the cash benefits and food benefits that were issued less than a year from the date they requested the replacement.

a.    Replacing expunged benefits:

                                            i.            Expunged cash benefits may be replaced to the head of household or any other remaining household member at any time.

                                          ii.            Expunged food benefits may only be replaced if the benefits were deposited and available to the client less than 365-days from the date of the client request.

                                        iii.            Replace food and/or cash benefits according to instructions in the EBT manual under 4.10 Replacement of EBT Benefits to Clients.


State and federal regulations do not allow cash or food benefits to be transferred to individuals who were not a part of the AU. These benefits are not part of the deceased client’s estate. 

b.    Replacement of warrants (checks):    

      The Office of Accounting Services (OAS) holds the funds from cash benefits issued to someone in the form of a state warrant (check). Warrants are stale-dated at the 180 days from issuance based on the statute of limitations.   

  • Clients can have a stale-dated warrant replaced by contacting the local office or calling OAS at (360) 664-5753.   
  • OAS holds funds from stale-dated warrants for two years. After two years, they send the funds to the Department of Revenue to hold until the payee claims these benefits.
  • OAS does not replace any other type of benefit.

      c.    Expunged Basic Food & outstanding overpayments:

      The department uses expunged Basic Food benefits to reduce any outstanding Basic Food overpayments. The DSHS Office of Financial Recovery automatically uses any expunged Basic Food benefits to reduce person's outstanding overpayment balance.


See the EBT Training Manual for additional information on expunged benefits.

5.    Client can ask Post Office to hold mail:

Normally we require that mail we send must be returned if the post office knows that the client does not live at the residence.  However, if a client requests the post office to hold their mail due to a temporary absence (i.e., vacation or hospital stay), the post office may hold mail that we send.

6.    Types of allotments:

a. An initial allotment is the first allotment issued to an assistance unit during a month.

b. A supplemental allotment is any allotment after the initial allotment in a month including an issuance of benefits for a past period that a client was eligible to get (restoration of lost benefits).  This does not include replacement of lost benefits.

7.   Drug and alcohol treatment center as alternate card holder:

If a client receives Basic Food benefits while they are a resident of a qualified drug and alcohol treatment center under WAC 388-408-0040, the facility will be an alternate card holder even if the client does not sign to authorize them as an alternate card holder.


  1. Inactive accounts:

    If you receive an ACES alert that a client's EBT account has been inactive for 60 days contact the client to determine why they have not used their benefits.

    1. If they don't know how to use their EBT card, explain how to access their benefits;

    2. If they don't need the benefits, ask the client if there is other income or resources available to them.

    3. Explain that if they do not use their account for a period of 365 days the benefits in their EBT account are expunged. Expunged food benefits issued a year or more ago cannot be replaced.

    4. Inactive benefits are automatically expunged from the clients' accounts after 365 days of nonuse.

  2. Direct deposit or Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT):

Clients may have their cash assistance deposited directly into a checking or savings account by completing Part 1 of the Direct Deposit Enrollment - DSHS 14-432 and taking Part 2 to their bank to complete.

  1. When the financial institution returns the completed form to you, send the form to the EBT Project Office by:

    • Forwarding the form to MS 45445; or

    • Faxing this form to EBT/Direct Deposit at (360) 725-4577.

  2. Provide the client with the toll free number to call if they have questions about EFT:  1-888-235-2954.

  1. Client chooses an alternate card holder:

A client who wants another person to have access to their benefits must authorize the person to be an alternate card holder.

  1. Explain to the client that an alternate card holder has access to all of the benefits in the client's EBT account (cash or food access only, if the client requests it);

  2. If the client wants to authorize another person to be an Alternate Card Holder, have the client complete and sign the EBT 002, Alternate Card Holder Authorization; and

  3. When the form is returned, authorize the issuance of a Quest card for the alternate cardholder.

NOTE: A Quest card for an alternate card holder cannot be mailed.  The person must come into the CSO to pick up the card.  There isn't a mechanism in JP Morgan to mail it.

  1. Assigning an alternate card holder in special circumstances:

    If a responsible member of the AU cannot access the benefits for the AU because the head of household cannot complete and sign the Alternate Card Holder Authorization due to incapacity or other circumstances, document the circumstances in the case record and authorize the issuance of a Quest card for the responsible member as an alternate card holder.

  2. Client wants to end or change EFT:

    If client contacts you about wanting to stop receiving their benefits through EFT, you have two options to assist the client.  You may delete the banking information on the EFTR screen or you may inform the client that a written request can be sent to EFT HQ via fax 360-725-4577 or mailed to:

    DSHS Direct Deposit/EBT
    PO Box 9254
    Olympia WA 98507-9737

    If a client wants to make a change to their EFT, provide them with the following phone number so they can have the change made: 1-888-235-2954.

    For details on Financial Workers procedures stopping/deleting EFT for active cash AUs, please refer to Chapter 10, section C (1) of the EFT Manual. For details on written request procedures to HQ, please go to section C (2).

  3. Post Office box:

Checks for cash benefits can be mailed to a Post Office box or the CSO when a payee meets WAC 388-412-0025(1)(c) and makes this request in writing.  If a client requests that checks be mailed to an address other than their residence address:

  1. Verify the client’s current living situation;

  2. Evaluate the client’s reasons for wanting the check mailed;

  3. Notify the client of the decision;

  4. Make the necessary changes in ACES, if approved;

  5. Notify the appropriate staff of the address change;

  6. Document the action taken; and

  7. Create an alert to review the situation at least once every six months.

  1. Combined issuance:

Authorize benefits at the same time for the month of application and the following month when a client applies on or after the 16th of the month.

Modification Date: December 6, 2013