Interview Requirements
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Interview Requirements

Revised January 9, 2014

Purpose: This section explains when someone must have an interview for benefits, when we schedule an interview, and when Basic Food households can have an authorized representative complete the required interview on the households behalf.

WAC 388-452-0005Do I have to be interviewed in order to get benefits?
WAC 388-452-0010What does the family violence amendment mean for TANF recipients?

WAC 388-452-0005

WAC 388-452-0005

Effective October 1, 2013

WAC 388-452-0005 Do I have to be interviewed in order to get benefits?

1.     You or your authorized representative must have an interview with the department:

a.    At initial certification; and

b.    At least once every twelve months.

2.     You will have just one interview even if you are applying for or are having a review for benefits from more than one program.

3.     We hold interviews either in person or over the phone.

4.     If we do not interview you on the same day that we receive your application, we will schedule an interview appointment for you or have you contact us by phone during our business hours to complete your interview.

5.     If we schedule an interview, we will set your appointment to allow you at least ten days after the interview to provide needed verification:

a.    Before the end of the thirty-day processing period for applications; or

b.    Before your certification period ends for eligibility reviews or recertifications.   

6.     If you miss your first interview and ask for another interview within thirty days of the date you applied for benefits, we schedule a second interview or have you call us and complete the interview over the phone.

7.     If you must have an interview for benefits, you or someone who can give us the information we need about your AU must participate in the interview. You may ask any person you choose to help with your interview.

8.     For Basic Food only, your authorized representative as described in WAC 388-460-0005 may take your place during your interview.

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.


*** As a result of implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this clarifying page may no longer be effective for medical coverage applications received on or after 10/01/2013. Please see the ACA Transition Plan for more information. Clients under 65 years of age who need to apply for medical coverage on or after 10/01/2013 should be referred to Washington Healthplanfinder. Applications for medical coverage for households where all members are 65 years of age and older should be referred to Washington Connection. ***





1.    When we require interviews:

a.    For cash assistance and Basic Food, we must interview a person at:

                    i.  Application; and

                  ii.  Eligibility review or recertification, if we have not interviewed them in the last twelve months.

  2.When we don't require interviews:

  1. Beginning with August 2013 applications and eligibility reviews, Basic Food assistance units who meet the following Elderly Interview Waiver criteria do not need to complete an interview at application or review for food benefits:

                      i.        All members of the household are elderly ( age 60+);

                    ii.        No mandatory or applying household members have earned income;

                   iii.        The paper or electronic application or eligibility review is complete;

                   iv.        The household has provided all necessary verification or the verification is available through interfaces available to the department; and

                    v.        No information provided is questionable.

Those meeting the waiver criteria cannot be denied or terminated from Food assistance for failure to complete an interview.

Household member for purposes of this waiver include only mandatory members and members who are applying for or receiving benefits in the assistance unit (even if not mandatory).

b.    If someone applies for medical assistance only, we do not require an interview.


Fran is 65 and her spouse is 60. The couples only source of income is Fran’s Social Security. Fran does not need to complete an interview for her Basic Food application and will be sent a mail in Eligibility Review.


Jim is 70 and receives a pension from Germany. Jim did not provide verification of his current monthly pension amount with his eligibility review. Jim will need to complete an interview for Basic Food and provide current verification of his income.


Steve is 68 and lives with his 25-year-old son James. Steve applies for Basic Food claiming to only purchase and prepare for himself. Steve has no earned income and no further information is needed to process his application. Even if James has income, Steve will not be required to have an interview.


Kay and her two kids receive Basic Food and medical benefits.  They are certified for these benefits through November.  In October, she loses her job and applies for TANF benefits.   Kay will need an interview for TANF and to recertify her Basic Food benefits.


Mary applies for cash, food, and medical and is scheduled for an interview.   Later, Mary withdraws her request for cash and food and only wants medical.  Mary’s worker denies the request for food and cash based on her request and can process the application for medical as there is no interview required.

2.    Phone interviews:

People do not need to claim a hardship in order to have a phone interview.  We can interview anyone by phone regardless of their circumstances.


1.    First contact resolution:


Complete the interview the day we receive the application whenever possible.  This helps ensure timely service and eliminates the need to schedule an interview or send a letter to inform the applicant of options for having their required interview.

a.    If the client is in the office, complete the face-to-face interview while they are in the office if possible.

b.    If we receive the application electronically or through the mail, attempt to contact the client to complete the interview. 

c.    If unable to complete the interview in person or over the phone on the day you receive an application, follow your local office procedure to either:

                                          i.   Schedule a specific date and time for an interview;

                                        ii.   Send the household a letter informing to call in or come into the local

                         office between 8:00am and 2:00pm by a specific date to have their

                         required interview. 

2.    Scheduled interviews:


For scheduled interviews, set up the interview enough in advance to allow the person 10 days to give us the information we need before the end of their certification period or 30-day processing period.  When possible, set up an interview time that fits with a person's work or other circumstances, including offering a phone interview. 



Marissa turns in her eligibility review form for Basic Food on June 12th. Her certification period ends on June 30th. Schedule the interview to be done by June 20th, so she has 10 days to give us the information we need before her certification period ends.

NOTE: Schedule the interview in ACES in order to ensure that households receive the required Notice Of Missed Interview (NOMI) letter overnight if we don’t complete the interview function on the date of the scheduled interview.

3.    Missed interviews:

If a client misses a scheduled interview, they will receive the notice of missed interview informing them to contact us to reschedule the interview.  If they contact us to reschedule, use the time to complete the interview rather than rescheduling another appointment. 

4.    Offices that do not use scheduled interviews:

Always attempt to complete an interview before sending out a letter to the client as stated in "first contact resolution above".  If you cannot interview the client on the day they apply, send them a general correspondence letter using the interview template containing the following information:

  •          The benefits they applied for;
  •          That they must have an interview by the:

      o   7th day after the date of application for expedited cases; or

      o   Two weeks from the date of application for all other cases.

  •          That they can come in or call Monday through Friday between 8:00am and 2:00pm  for their interview;
  •          The location of your office;
  •          The number(s) to call in for phone interviews; and
  •          That they can call or come into the office during regular walk-in hours within 30 days of their application date even if they miss the deadline of the 7th day or two weeks; and
  •          That if they do not have their interview within 30 days, they will need to reapply for benefits.

NOTE: Schedule the interview on the MISC screen in ACES for the 7th day from the date of application for expedited cases or two weeks from the date of application for all other requests. 


This will ensure that households receive the required Notice Of Missed Interview (NOMI) letter overnight if we don’t complete the interview function on the date of the scheduled interview.

5.      Interpreter Services:

If someone has Limited English Proficiency, arrange for interpreter services as allowed under Chapter 388-271 WAC. See: Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

6.      Conducting the interview:

a.    Review all completed forms with the person as described below:

                                                                    i.            Make sure they have correctly filled out all the forms you need;

                                                                  ii.            Confirm the information in the application – Resolving any unclear, incomplete, or inconsistent information with them; and

                                                                iii.            Get the proof you need about their circumstances as described in VERIFICATION.

b.    See APPLICATIONS - Information Needed to Determine Eligibility to

     decide if the person completed all the forms you need

c.    Review the DSHS 14-113(X), "Your Rights and Responsibilities" with the

     person and give them a copy of the form. Document that you reviewed the 

     form with the person and gave them a copy.  See: RIGHTS for information.

d. Inform household of their reporting requirements per WAC 388-418-0005.

e. Inform household if they are required to complete a mid-certification review at 6 months.

7.      Referrals:

Based on the household’s circumstances, make referrals to the appropriate resource or specialists including:

·         Incapacity Specialist - see Incapacity

·         FRED Worker - see Fraud

·         Refugee Caseworker - see Refugee Assistance

·         Teen Parent Caseworker - see Teen Parents

·         First Steps Caseworker - see Pregnancy and Women's Health

·         Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs - see Veteran's Referrals. 


8.      TANF Family Violence Screening:

Complete screenings for family violence on TANF households as described below:

a.       Review the application or eligibility review form to determine if the person claims "good cause" for not helping the Division of Child Support (DCS) establish paternity and collect child support. This may be the first sign that family violence is an issue.

b.      Review the Family Violence Option with the individual.

c.       Explain WorkFirst work activities and eligibility requirements.

d.      Tell the individual about cooperation and referrals, including the right to ask for a referral at any time while receiving benefits.

e.       After the individual understands the Family Violence Option, screen the individual for family violence using the "Family Violence Screening/Evaluation" in eJAS.

f.       Tell the individual that they only need to answer "yes" or "no" to each question. The individual does not have to explain their answers.

g.      If the individual answers "no" to any of the questions, determine an appropriate work activity.

h.      If the individual answers "yes" to any of the questions, provide them with referral information to local resources and determine an appropriate WorkFirst approved activity. Referrals may include one or more of the following:

                                            i.            Shelters for battered individuals or families;

                                          ii.            Medical services;

                                        iii.            Family and domestic violence hot lines;

                                        iv.            Emergency help for individuals or families fleeing family violence;

                                          v.            Legal counseling and advocacy, including initiation of legal proceedings;

                                        vi.            Mental health care, counseling and support groups;

                                      vii.            Other available services.

NOTE: See WAC 388-452-0010 for additional information about Family Violence screening.

WAC 388-452-0010

WAC 388-452-0010

Effective September 1, 1998

WAC 388-452-0010 What does the family violence amendment mean for TANF recipients?

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), also known as the Welfare Reform Act, gave every state the option to have a program to address issues of family violence for temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) recipients.

  1. For TANF, it is family violence when a recipient, or family member or household member has been subjected by another family member or household member as defined in RCW 26.50.010 (2) to one of the following: 

    1. Physical acts that resulted in, or threatened to result in, physical injury;

    2. Sexual abuse;

    3. Sexual activity involving a dependent child;

    4. Being forced as the caretaker relative or a dependent child to engage in nonconsensual sexual acts or activities;

    5. Threats of or attempts at, physical sexual abuse;

    6. Mental abuse;

    7. Neglect or deprivation of medical care; or

    8. Stalking.

  2. DSHS shall:

    1. Screen and identify TANF recipients for a history of family violence;

    2. Notify TANF recipients about the Family Violence Amendment both verbally and in writing;

    3. Maintain confidentiality as stated in RCW 74.04.060;

    4. Offer referral to social services or other resources for clients who meet the criteria in subsection (1) of this section;

    5. Waive WorkFirst requirements in cases where the requirements would make it more difficult to escape family violence, unfairly penalize victims of family violence or place victims at further risk of family violence. Requirements to be waived may include:

      1. Time limits for TANF recipients, for as long as necessary (after fifty-two months of receiving TANF);

      2. Cooperation with the division of child support.

    6. Develop specialized work activities for instances where participation in regular work activities would place the recipient at further risk of family violence.

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 388-452-0010  applies only to persons who receive TANF cash aid.

  1. Additional requirements for persons fleeing domestic abuse:  Additional requirements may be available for persons currently receiving TANF or Refugee Cash Assistance fleeing domestic abuse. See EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE for rules and procedures.
  1. Family violence may be a barrier for work:  Family violence victims face several hurdles in successfully moving from welfare to work because:

  1. The physical and emotional effects of past or present abuse may hinder job performance or work search.
  2. The abuser may try to sabotage the victims' education, training and employment to keep them dependent upon the abuser.
  3. The abuser may threaten the safety of the victim's children or family members.
  4. The demands of court intervention, criminal prosecution, safety planning, physical and mental recovery, or counseling may interfere with work, education or training.
  5. The victim may need to move or disrupt work to escape a violent living arrangement.  

3.      Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP):  Since the degree of family violence varies greatly, the intent of this section is to help the worker determine an IRP. The following levels may help to determine whether or not a deferral and/or waiver is necessary:

a.       Level 1 - This group identifies victims of family violence who do not want or need any referrals or deferrals and/or waivers from work requirements.

b.      Level 2 - This group identifies victims of family violence who want supportive services and/or referrals, but do not need deferrals and/or waivers from work requirements.

c.       Level 3 - This group identifies victims of family violence who need referrals to local resources and deferrals and/or waivers to gain stability before actively seeking employment.

See the WorkFirst  Handbook for more information on participation activities for family violence victims.


  1. Screen all persons approved for TANF at the initial application interview and each eligibility review for circumstances of family violence.
  2. Provide referral information to individuals in need of counseling and support services.
  3. Delay work search activities when participation would:
    1. Make it more difficult for the individual to escape family violence.
    2. Penalize individuals who have been or are at risk of becoming victims of family violence, or who are at further risk of abuse.
  4. You may waive the following:
    1. Time limits on receipt of TANF, after the individual has received TANF for 52 months.
    2. Paternity and child support cooperation requirements.
    3. Other WorkFirst requirements that unfairly penalize victims or make it more difficult to escape family violence.
  5. Keep information about victims of family violence confidential as required by RCW 74.04.060.

Exception: You must report incidents of child abuse or neglect to the proper law enforcement agency. This includes child rape, child molestation and sexual misconduct with a minor. RCW 26.44.030(4) provides these guidelines.

  1. Provide information about the Family Violence Option, both orally and in writing to all TANF individuals. Case Managers will provide the client with a copy of the Open the Door brochure at the initial application interview and at each eligibility review. The brochure tells the client about the Family Violence Option and how we can help.
  2. Accept allegations of family violence by a victim as enough evidence to substantiate the claim of violence. Other evidence of family violence may include any of the following sources:
    1. Police, government agency, or court records.
    2. Documentation from a source from which the victim has sought aid in dealing with family violence.
    3. Statement from any other individual with knowledge of the circumstances that provide the basis for the claim.
    4. Physical evidence of family violence.
    5. Other evidence that may help identify a victim of family violence.
  3. Show sensitivity in handling situations involving a victim or potential victim of family violence.
  4. Provide an environment in which the individual can disclose family violence. This includes interviewing the individual alone whenever possible.


There are two procedures addressed in this section:
  • See Interview for actions taken during the interview; and
  • See Scheduling for scheduling in ACES.
Modification Date: January 9, 2014