Certification Periods - Basic Food
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Certification Periods - Basic Food

Revised September 26, 2013

Purpose: This section explains: What a certification period is for Basic Food; The longest certification period we can give people based on their Assistance Unit's situation; and When ACES will set a certification period to match the review end date of other programs.

WAC 388-416-0005How long can I get Basic Food?

WAC 388-416-0005

WAC 388-416-0005

Effective October 16, 2011

WAC 388-416-0005 How long can I get Basic Food?

  1. The length of time the department determines your assistance unit (AU) is eligible to get Basic Food is called a certification period.   The department may certify your AU for up to twelve months, unless: 
    1. You receive food assistance under WASHCAP, we set your certification period under WAC 388-492-0090.
    2. You receive transitional food assistance, we set your certification period under WAC 388-489-0015.
  2. We terminate your Basic Food benefits before the end of your certification period in subsection (1) if:
    1. You fail to complete a mid-certification review as described under WAC 388-418-0011;
    2. We get proof of a change that makes your AU ineligible; or
    3. We get information that your AU is ineligible and you  do not provide needed information to verify your AU's circumstances.

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 who need to apply for medical coverage on or after 10/01/2013 should be referred to Washington Healthplanfinder. ***

  1. Start date of a certification period:

We start the certification period on the date people's benefits start under WAC 388-406-0055, even if they do not receive benefits for the first month they are eligible.


David applies for Basic Food on October 31, 2005, and is eligible for $4. David does not receive benefits for October because his benefits in the first month are less than $10. His 12-month certification period starts October 31, 2005, and ends on September 30, 2006.

  1. Certification period defaults:

ACES sets certification periods based on the circumstances of the AU and what other benefits they receive from us. The table below shows the certification period the system will set if not matching a review period to another program.

AU Circumstances / Other Programs

Default Certification

All non-WASHCAP Basic Food AUs




Transitional Food Assistance 


  1. Matching cash review periods and Basic Food certification periods:

When possible, ACES will automatically match the cash review periods and Basic Food / TANF related family medical certification periods to minimize the number of reviews as described below:

a.    Basic Food approved first:

                                            i.            If there are at least six months left in the Basic Food certification period, ACES sets the mid-certification review and eligibility review end dates for the new cash / medical benefit to match dates for Basic Food.

                                          ii.            If there are less than six months left in the Basic Food certification period, the system will not change the certification period end date for Basic Food. ACES sets a 12-month review period with the mid-certification review due at six months for the new cash / medical benefit.


When the system does not automatically match the mid-certification review and review end dates because there are less than six months in the certification period, staff can match these dates by initiating a review for Basic Food.

  • If we do not initiate a review to manually match the certification / review periods, these mid-certification reviews and eligibility review periods will not match and will result in the household receiving more than one mid-certification review.
  • The system initiates a review for associated cases at the next ER or recertification. When we complete the review, the end dates and mid-certification review due date will match.

b.    Cash / Family medical approved first:

                      i.        ACES extends the current cash / medical review periods to match the certification period end date for Basic Food.

                    ii.        ACES sends the mid-certification review for all programs that require a report in month five of the certification/review period. This mid-certification review is due in month six.



The Adams family receives TANF benefits only. TANF review period expires in February. In January, they apply for Basic Food benefits.

The Basic Food case will be assigned a certification period of January through December. ACES will adjust both the TANF review period and mid-certification review due date to match the newly opened Basic Food benefits.



3.      Close Basic Food benefits when:

a.    When you proof of a change that make an AU ineligible.

b.    You receive information that suggest that the household may be ineligible; and

c.    The household doesn’t clarify their circumstances.


You receive a call from an anonymous source that Stan is working and has income over the gross income standard. You send Stan a written request for him to give us proof of his income or deny the claim that he is employed.

If Stan does not respond within ten days, close his case with advance and adequate notice.


Dee calls to report that she is working. The income she reports is over the net income limit for TANF but is just short of the income limit for Basic Food. Dee's TANF terminated while she was in sanction for failing to cooperate with DCS. The household is not eligible for TFA.

Because Dee's worker is unsure of her eligibility for Basic Food, he adjusts the income in ACES to close TANF and asks for proof of her income to decide if she is still eligible for Basic Food.

If the proof shows that Dee is over income for Basic Food, her worker closes the case with advance and adequate notice.


See Certification Periods
Modification Date: September 26, 2013