Economic Services Administration

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NEW 6/17/2024Starting July 1, 2024, customers whose cash benefits were stolen through EBT card skimming or other similar, fraudulent activity can submit a claim to the Department of Social and Health Services to have some of those benefits replaced. Washington state passed a law that allows DSHS to replace Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, State Family Assistance, Refugee Cash Assistance, Aged, Blind or Disabled cash assistance and Pregnant Women Assistance benefits stolen July 1, 2024, or later. 

Customers who are the head of household and believe they are victims of cash-benefit theft, despite having their EBT card in their possession, may request to have these benefits replaced within 30 days of discovering the loss by:

  • Submitting a claim in person in a Community Services Office during business hours. 
  • Calling the Customer Service Contact Center at 877-501-2233.
  • Completing a signed “DSHS Claim of Stolen EBT Benefits” form (DSHS 27-221) and submitting it:
    • By mail to P.O. Box 11699, Tacoma, WA 98411.
    • By fax to 888-338-7140.
    • By drop box at a local DSHS office.
    • Through MyDocs email.

Home and Community Services customers who believe they might be victims of cash-benefit theft should contact their assigned public benefits specialist. Developmental Disabilities Administration customers should call 855–873–0642.

No retroactive replacements:
DSHS did not receive authorization or funding to replace cash benefits stolen before July 1, 2024. If customers already reported stolen cash benefits prior to July 1, 2024, no further action is needed. There will be no retroactive cash replacements.

August 2023: Congress passed a law that enables DSHS to replace some food benefits stolen through skimming, cloning or similar fraudulent activity. Customers who believe they are victims of food benefits theft should submit a claim to have some food benefits replaced. Claims for food benefits replacement (DSHS 27-225) can be submitted in the same manner as cash benefits replacement claims.

Customers who had benefits stolen must submit the claim within 30 days of discovering the loss. 

EBT Card Skimming and Phishing Scams Are On The Rise -- Protect Your Account Information
The Department of Social and Health Services is discouraged by scammers targeting debit, credit and EBT card users across the country, especially Washington residents who can least afford to lose vital access to healthy food. It’s devastating to experience this kind of loss at any time but especially during the holiday season and with prices for groceries and goods continuing to climb.

We are aware of cases where people’s EBT cards were accessed and benefits were stolen through skimming and phishing. We are grateful for the opportunity to talk about what we’re doing to combat this and what Washingtonians can to do protect their benefits.

DSHS is investigating with local and federal law enforcement partners, and developing systems to review our data to detect anomalies and red flags. Anyone using any kind of debit, credit or EBT card can be a target for skimming and phishing scams. Unlike credit cards or debit cards issued by financial institutions, EBT cards are not FDIC-insured/guaranteed. Federal and state rules prohibit the replacement of stolen benefits in most circumstances and for most programs, including SNAP/Basic Food benefits. When we detect anomalies and have not already been alerted by clients about potential fraud, we are reaching out to clients directly and suggesting they take steps to protect their accounts.

The best defense against fraud and theft is a good offense, so we urge all EBT card users to protect their account information:

  • Keep your EBT card PIN secret. Don’t share it with anyone outside your household. Be sure to cover the keypad when you enter your PIN on a machine.
  • Don’t share your EBT card number or PIN with anyone through phone or text. Phishing scams are rampant, especially through text messages.
  • Check your EBT account regularly for unauthorized charges. If you notice any, change your PIN immediately to stop any new purchases.
  • Check card-reading machines to make sure there’s nothing suspicious laid over the top or attached to the card swiper or keypad. Overlays can be hard to detect but are often bigger than the original machine and may hide parts of the machine.
  • Use features offered by Washington's EBT card vendor at to freeze and unfreeze a card as well as block out-of-state and online transactions.

If anyone believes they may be victim of fraud, immediately call the EBT Customer Service line at 888-328-9271 to report the card as stolen. By doing this, the card vendor can deactivate the card and send the client a new card. Also contact local law enforcement if you believe you are the victim of EBT fraud. Once you’ve made a report and have a case number, you can report the theft to DSHS Office of Fraud and Accountability at 800-562-6906 or online. Also report the theft to your local DSHS Community Services Office or call 877-501-2233.


Dismantling Poverty

Dismantle Poverty image of four faces in purple-orange-yellow-teal silhouette

DSHS is proud to be a co-lead agency of Governor Inslee’s Poverty Reduction Work Group, which recently released A Blueprint for a Just and Equitable Future: the 10-year Plan to Dismantle Poverty. Learn more about the work group, eight strategies and 60 recommendations in the plan and the Steering Committee, people with lived experience who had final approval of the plan, at Dismantle Poverty in Washington


Man & a KidESA hosts the Washington Fatherhood Council, a collaborative group of more than 35 state and local providers, academics and fathers with lived expertise. The Council fosters service provider capacity, creates community for fathers, works for policy change and resource investment in fathers, and promotes the voices and experiences of fathers to transform family systems. By increasing fatherhood access and belonging, the Council helps further ESA’s goal of reducing poverty and inequality. Contact

Public Charge Policy Changes

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently published final rule changes that could apply to people who receive specific public benefits. DSHS has reviewed the rules and wants to provide accurate, reliable information for individuals and families who may be impacted by these changes. Read more here.


What We Do

We transform lives by empowering individuals and families to thrive. We serve many clients who live on the margin. Although most are not receiving a cash grant, they may be relying on food assistance, work-related support services, assistance with child support or medical coverage. A family crisis or change in the economy, even a small one, can force these families into situations requiring assistance, whether it’s the full support of a cash grant, help with child support or temporary assistance to avoid losing housing.

Washington Connection offers you a way to find and apply for a variety of services and assistance online. By entering in basic household information, Washington Connection will let you know what programs or services you or your family may be qualified to receive from various state, federal or local sources.