Fleeing Felons
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Fleeing Felons

Revised June 26, 2014

Purpose: This chapter explains how being a fleeing felon impacts a client’s eligibility for some department programs.

WAC 388-442-0010How does being a fleeing felon impact my eligibility for benefits?

WAC 388-442-0010

WAC 388-442-0010

Effective January 1, 2014

WAC 388-442-0010 How does being a fleeing felon impact my eligibility for benefits?

  1. You are a fleeing felon if you are fleeing to avoid prosecution, custody, or confinement for a crime or an attempt to commit a crime that is considered a felony in the place from which you are fleeing. 

  2. If you are a fleeing felon, or if you are violating a condition of probation or parole as determined by an administrative body or court that has the authority to make this decision, you are not eligible for TANF/SFA, PWA, ABD cash, referral to the HEN program, or Basic Food benefits.

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.    Fleeing felons:

For a person to be "fleeing", they must be acting with the intent to avoid prosecution. If a magistrate has issued a felony warrant, the person must know that an arrest warrant was issued in order for us to consider that person "fleeing."

2.    Juvenile convictions:

A juvenile offender who flees a felony warrant is subject to the same rules as adult offenders. This includes persons who were convicted of a felony in a juvenile court.

3.    Probation or parole violation:

Violating a condition of probation or parole means an arrest warrant is issued when the corrections officer informs an administrative body or court that an individual failed to comply with a condition of probation or parole.

a.    What is considered a violation of parole varies from case to case.

b.    A corrections officer may tell us that they intend to issue a warrant, but a person's eligibility is not affected until the warrant is issued.

4.    Pregnant felons who get SFA:

A woman who was convicted of misrepresenting her residence in order to receive benefits from two or more states at the same time may get SFA while she is pregnant. When the pregnancy ends, she is no longer eligible for these benefits. Any children may be eligible for TANF/SFA benefits on their own. See WAC 388-418-0020  to determine the effective date of the change.


As allowed under federal law, Senate Bill 6411 passed in the 2004 legislative session, restored Basic Food benefits to persons convicted of a drug-related felony. Senate Bill 5213 passed in the 2005 legislative session restored TANF benefits to persons convicted of a drug-related felony.


1.    Reviewing fleeing felon status:

Take the following actions at application, at review, or when adding an individual to the Assistance Unit (AU):

a.    Ask the person about the possibility of outstanding warrants for each member of the household and record the information in ACES.

b.    Check adult AU members against the Department of Corrections (DOC) Felony Offender Reporting System (FORS) for outstanding warrants and/or felon status. Follow local office policy on who may use FORS.

c.    If FORS has a warrant listed for an adult member of the household, contact DOC to verify that the warrant is still valid.

2.   When someone has a felony warrant:

a.    Let a person know when that individual has a valid felony warrant.

b.    Give a person who says the warrant is satisfied a chance to prove the status.

c.    We must consider that person "fleeing" and not eligible for TANF/SFA or Basic Food benefits unless:

1.    The person can prove the warrant is satisfied, or

2.    The person can reasonably show they have made a good faith effort to satisfy the warrant and have been unable to do so for reasons beyond their control.

d.    Deny or close benefits as appropriate.

  1. When law enforcement contacts the department:

If a law enforcement official contacts us regarding an individual, cooperate with the official as required by state and federal law.

a.      State Law - RCW 74.04.062 allows us to disclose current address and location information about cash-only clients to law enforcement officers when all of the following conditions are met:

i.      They are acting in an official capacity;

ii.    They identify themselves;

iii.   Provide the client's Social Security Number; and

iv.   Demonstrate that the client is a fugitive.

b.      Federal Law - 7CFR §272.1 (c)(1)(vii) Requires us to cooperate with law enforcement officers by providing the address, Social Security Number, and any available photograph of a client when:

i.     The request is specified in writing; and

ii.    The person is fleeing to avoid prosecution or custody for a crime, or an attempt to commit a crime, that would be classified as a felony or is violating a condition of probation or parole imposed under a Federal or State law; or

iii.  The person has information needed to apprehend or investigate another household member who is fleeing to avoid prosecution or custody for a felony, or has violated a condition of probation or parole.

iv.   The federal law applies to all Basic Food applicants and recipients and supersedes the state law for these individuals.


Federal regulations only allow the release of specific information when all of the conditions listed above are satisfied. 

   4.     DSHS Staff Reporting Felons:

In very limited circumstances, staff may report a fleeing felon applying for or receiving cash assistance.

·           RCW 74.04.062 allows us to contact the appropriate law enforcement agency when we learn that a person has a valid outstanding warrant. These provisions in state law apply to cash only clients.

·           Federal law under 7CFR §272.1 (c)(1)(vii) only allows us to disclose information on the whereabouts of a fleeing felon applying for or receiving food assistance as described under section (3)(b) above.  It does not allow staff to initiate contact with law enforcement.

We cannot contact law enforcement to report a fleeing felon for food assistance, even if the person is also applying for or receiving cash assistance.



Staff are not required to report fleeing felons to the authorities. 

The only mandatory requirement when provided a written request meeting the requirements under RCW 74.04.062 is to provide the person’s current address, location, and social security number. 

Local offices are not required to assist in detaining or delaying a fleeing felon leaving the office in order for law enforcement to arrest them.

Modification Date: June 26, 2014