Chapter 2: Supports

2.1 Overview

Revised 01/01/2024

The Supports-Overview section includes:

  • 2.1.1 What do we mean by "supports"?
  • 2.1.2 What supports are available?
  • 2.1.3 When do we offer supports?
  • 2.1.4 What are the overall principles for supports?

2.1.1 What do we mean by "supports"?

A person receiving WorkFirst/SFA gets cash assistance to help meet the basic needs of the family. WorkFirst offers a variety of supports to help families become and remain employed.

As wages increase, these supports gradually drop away, until the family can sustain themselves without any further help. This brings independence and a better life.

2.1.2 What supports are available?

It is very important that we explain to everyone that the supports listed below do not carry time limits and do not affect the family's WorkFirst cash assistance time limit. We also want to make sure people understand what supports are available, so they can start planning for their future independence.

WorkFirst support services and the Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) program are described in the following sections of the chapter. Other supports available to low-income families include:

  •  Washington Apple Health: Families may have Washington Apple Health coverage while they are on WorkFirst cash assistance and for up to one year after leaving assistance (TANF closed for excess earned income). After that, children may qualify for  Washington Apple Health until the family reaches 200% of the federal poverty level.
  • Food assistance: The department provides food assistance based on family size, income, and expenses. Also, the department provides Transitional Food Assistance (TFA). TFA is a program to provide stable food benefits for up to five months to families leaving the WorkFirst cash assistance or Tribal TANF programs while receiving Basic Food except when TANF closes due to non-compliance sanction. If a parent is in WorkFirst sanction and TANF closes for a different reason, the remaining family members may receive TFA.  TFA is meant to help meet a family's nutritional needs for five months as they transition into self-sufficiency.
  • Child support: The Division of Child Support uses innovative techniques to collect child support for low-income families. While on WorkFirst, child support collected goes to the state to repay the costs of the parent's WorkFirst. Once a person leaves WorkFirst, however, they start to receive any current child support collected.
  • Additional requirements (AREN): Supplemental WorkFirst cash assistance can be authorized by DSHS case managers for emergent needs such as homelessness. This grant can pay a family's rent (to prevent eviction) or utilities. It can also cover items such as first and last month's rent.
  • Post Employment services.  Specific types of services and information may vary from office to office but should include:
    • Opportunities for accessing training - skills upgrade.
    • Mentoring, coaching, and employment counseling.
    • Resource information for accessing:
      • Money Management classes
      • Work Skill Assessment
      • Labor Market Information
      • Community Resources - Food Banks, Utilities Assistance, Community Action Programs
    • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): The state has established a toll-free hotline to make it easier for workers to file for the EITC. The EITC provides up to $4,400 a year for low-income workers. For some families, taking advantage of the EITC means a 40 percent increase in take-home pay. The EITC hotline number is 1-800-755-5317. Calls are answered 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Information is available in both English and Spanish. Hearing impaired persons can call 1-800-833-6388 for TDD/TYY.
  • Community Resources: Many communities provide supports to low income families, like food or clothing banks. There are also federally funded benefits available, like food supplements from the Woman and Infant Care (WIC) program.

2.1.3 When do we offer supports?

There are some critical stages parents go through as they move from welfare to self-sufficiency. As shown on the chart below, the types of necessary supports may change as they make this transition, and should be reviewed regularly.

Stage Likely necessary supports
Before Cash Assistance approval Look at what support services and child care the family may need to attend the WorkFirst Orientation
WorkFirst Cash Assistance approval

The family will have a cash grant, and likely food assistance and Washington Apple Health. Child support will be pursued.

Look at what support services and child care the family needs to look for work, prepare for work.

Gets a Job Support service needs will likely change. Review with the participant:
  • EITC
  • How much child support is being paid
  • Employer-provided medical coverage
  • Post-Employment Services options
Exits WorkFirst Cash Assistance Family can continue to get food assistance, with no impact on their WorkFirst cash assistance time limit. Review with the parent how they might qualify for:
  • EITC
  • How much child support they will receive
  • How to access or apply for Washington Apple Health or other health care coverage
  • BHP and children's medical coverage
  • WCCC
  • Job retention/wage progression services
  • Diversion or AREN for emergencies
  • Transitional Food Assistance
First year off WorkFirst Cash Assistance We continue to help families, using the supports listed above, during their first year off WorkFirst cash assistance (like help with financial emergencies

2.1.4 What are the overall principles for supports?

There are some common themes you will see whenever we talk about supports for WorkFirst parents.

Support is available to help parents become and stay employed, for example health care coverage and child care that parents can access and afford. These supports can help lift low-income working families out of poverty and reduce their chance of going back on welfare.

Parents have the primary responsibility for supporting their children. Parents and the state share responsibility for helping families leave welfare. Parents are responsible for moving quickly into jobs. The state is responsible for helping parents find and keep a job, and for collecting child support.

WorkFirst gets involved with people's lives in ways that the old welfare system never could. Whether it is getting quality child care, child support, stable housing, reliable transportation, new clothes, a new hairdo or glasses. All these things are offered to help people become more employable, but they also improve people's lives in general. Increased self-esteem. Better role models. Healthier kids.

The types of support needed change as a person gets a job, then transitions off assistance. Continued supports once off WorkFirst cash assistance, like health care coverage, food assistance or wage progression services, can make all the difference in a family staying independent.

Remind parents on a regular basis what supports are available and what supports they can receive after they leave WorkFirst cash assistance (without affecting their time limit for WorkFirst cash assistance benefit receipt).

If receiving a low WorkFirst grant, parents might choose to "bank" months of WorkFirst for times of greater need.

Providing the appropriate supports, while encouraging employment, can help us increase WorkFirst exits, reduce WorkFirst returns, and keep caseloads down.


Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

Other Resources

2.2 Support Services

Revised May 3, 2024

Legal References:

The Support Services section includes:

  • 2.2.1 What are support services?
  • 2.2.2 What is the purpose of support services?
  • 2.2.3 What are the support service limits?
  • 2.2.4 What is Post-TANF Employment Transportation Support Services (PETSS)?
  • 2.2.5 Are there any restrictions on support services?
  • 2.2.6 How do I encourage independence?
  • 2.2.7 Should support services be authorized?
  • 2.2.8 When should support services be denied?
  • 2.2.9 How do I request an Exception to Rule?
  • 2.2.10 Support services - Step-by-Step Guide
  • 2.2.11 Special Instructions – Vouchers with direct payments without a participant signature
  • 2.2.12 Special Instructions – Travel Advance Vouchers
  • 2.2.13 Special Instructions – Department of Licensing (DOL)
  • 2.2.14 Special Instructions – Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • 2.2.15 Special Instructions – U-Haul
  • 2.2.16 Special Instructions – Inpatient Treatment
  • 2.2.17 End of the State Fiscal Year Process
  • 2.2.18 What are the Supervisor Tools?
  • How do supervisors navigate the Financial Reporting System in eJAS?
  • How do supervisors monitor and transfer funds for their local office?
  • When, why and where do supervisors audit support services?

2.2.1 What are Support Services?

Support services are goods and services purchased to help parents/caregivers to participate in required WorkFirst activities, attend WorkFirst Orientation, or needs for emergency situations. We offer support services when there is no other way to meet a family's essential needs while using sound judgment to determine what is reasonable. This may require using non-traditional or alternative means to meet the family’s goals or needs. For example, a participant starting work may need alternative transportation to work if their work schedule starts before the morning bus line and a bicycle and helmet may be appropriate to approve.

We offer temporary and targeted supports a participant needs to work, look for work, prepare for work, or to participate in required WorkFirst activities. Support services are available, as needed, throughout a participant's time on WorkFirst cash assistance.

Support services are also available to:

  • Allow applicants to attend and complete a WorkFirst Orientation prior to TANF/SFA approval.
  • Participants who are curing sanction.
  • Ineligible minor parents who are working with the social service specialist to either enroll in school as required or move to an acceptable living arrangement.
  • Teens 17 and 18 years old in a WorkFirst activity (school clothes are not a needed item for support services).

See Social Services Manual (Pregnant and Participating Minors)

Some WorkFirst participants may not be eligible for support services but need assistance to continue to live independently, Case Managers should consider Ongoing Additional Requirements for these families. See the Social Service Manual (OAR) for more information.

CSD WorkFirst staff, ESD Career Coaches, Community Colleges, and Community Jobs (CJ) contractors can authorize support services.

2.2.2 What is the purpose of Support Services?

The purpose of WorkFirst support services is to offer a resource for participants who are actively engaged in job search or work activities. Some support services are also available to participants if they have a need while they are participating in other activities (such as completion of the WorkFirst Orientation), with the main focus of employment or advancing in employment. The support service chart in WAC 388-310-0800 shows the support services categories and when they can be offered.

Support services should be provided based on the immediate needs of the participant. The category recommendations should not be considered an entitled amount, but as the suggested limits the program can provide in any given category of support service. Do not automatically issue the maximum dollar amount for the support service. Issue the least amount needed to meet the participants need. The main focus of support services is to subsidize participants' efforts toward finding employment, remaining employed, or advancing into better employment.

2.2.3 What are the Support Services limits?

There is a $5,000 yearly limit for each WorkFirst participant in the family. Some services don't count towards the yearly limit, such as childcare and accommodations. There are hard edits in eJAS for the annual limit, meaning the eJAS system won't allow payments exceeding this limit.

Activity categories include:

  • Work-related: working, looking for work, work-like activities
  • Safety-related: meeting significant or emergency family safety needs such as family violence
  • Other activities: any other activity contained in the participant’s IRP

The amount of support services authorized must be based on the participant's needs and must stay within the program limits. The only possible exceptions to the limit are when a participant has a crisis situation (such as fleeing domestic violence) or a unique and justifiable need that can be approved through the formal exception to rule process. The process for requesting an exception to rule is described in its own subsection below (Exception to Rule).

The Support Services Directory lists the suggested use and dollar limits for each service.

2.2.4 What is Post-TANF Employment Transportation Support Services (PETSS)?

PETSS provides transportation-related support services in the three months after TANF closes, for participants who are exiting TANF/SFA and have verified unsubsidized employment of 15+ hours per week. The purpose is to help mitigate the cliff effect that often happens for families when they start new employment and are over-income for TANF/SFA. Households that closed due to Non-Compliance Sanction are not eligible for PETSS.

WorkFirst staff:

  1. Reviews case and determines if there are needed transportation-related support services:
    1. Is the TANF/SFA closed?
      1. If yes, did the TANF/SFA AU close, less than 3 months ago?
      2. If yes, is there verified unsubsidized employment of 15+ hours per week?
      3. Documents actions taken and support services needed in eJAS notes.
  1. Issues the support services following the instructions in 2.2.10 Support Services - Step-by-Step Guide.

See the PETSS Desk Aid, for more details on how to issue support services after an AU is closed

2.2.5 Are there any restrictions on support services?

Some items can never be purchased with Support Services. They include:

  • Weapons,
  • Motor vehicles,
  • Court-imposed fines,
  • Loan payments,
  • Services normally provided by state employees such as job placement, or
  • Items that the participant's Washington Apple Health benefits will cover.

As shown on the chart below, the types of services you can authorize also vary depending on the person's WorkFirst status.


Authorizing Support Services

WorkFirst Applicants

Supports that enable the participant who may be in pending status but appear to be eligible for WorkFirst to:

  • Attend WorkFirst Orientation;
  • Cure sanction;
  • Have an emergency situation;
  • Continue to look for, prepare for, or obtain work; or
  • Provide verification/documentation for Time Limit Extension

WorkFirst Recipients

Authorize support services the participant needs to help them continue to:

  • Look for, prepare for, or obtain work; or
  • Progress toward self-sufficiency

Examples include meeting the initial costs of employment, transportation, barrier removal, or skills training

Post-TANF Employment Transportation Support Services (PETSS)


Authorize transportation-related services the participant needs help to maintain their employment of at least 15 hours/week for up to 3 months after TANF closes.


2.2.6 How do I encourage independence?

WorkFirst has a limited amount of resources to use as a supplement to the participant's own resources, and other available resources. This approach means that support services can be a teaching tool to help participants understand what they will need to transition off WorkFirst. Participants will also benefit from goal-setting using the below talking points when they receive support services:

  • How to use what they have on hand?
  • How to budget their income?
  • How to create contingency plans?
  • How to plan for future expenses?
  • Identifying what specific needs they plan to cover through increased wages?

WorkFirst staff combine the participant's resources with what the program can provide. For example, if a participant has a car repair need that costs $700 so they can keep their job, the participant and the worker may find out from the vendor how much of the cost could be paid in installments if the program paid for a large portion of the repair up front.

In the same way, WorkFirst can supplement the participant's clothing, hygiene items, transportation costs and so on, but shouldn’t be the only source to cover the costs. WorkFirst is there to help when the participant needs a hand, but should encourage the participant to become increasingly self-reliant with a goal of complete and lasting independence.

Services provided after the participant is working should be transitional in nature, to assist the participants when they need it. Again, the goal is to provide temporary help that meets their need, adds to their coping skills, and fosters the participant's growing sense of independence.

2.2.7 Should support services be authorized?

It is important to talk to the participant about the purposes of support services when they have a request. The intent of support services is to meet temporary, targeted needs and get participants started towards independence. They are also a valuable and limited resource.

As you talk to participants about support services, you need to review the case and current status in activities before approving the request including but not limited to:

  • Actual Hours
  • Notes
  • Components

As you explore whether the participant can use other resources to meet their need - do not hold off on authorizing needed supports until you explore every possible alternative. The intent is to use other resources that are readily at hand in place of support services when possible.

Remember, support services are not meant to be an ongoing supplement if the participant is able to meet the need ongoing or there are other sources. It may often make sense to deny requests, authorize less than originally requested, or find another way to meet the need or part of the need.

2.2.8 When should support services be denied?

We deny requests for support services when they aren't needed to meet an appropriate purpose, the request exceeds the annual limit, or the participant can meet the need in another way. When we deny these requests, we need to:

  • Document the denial in eJAS,
  • Tell the participant why the request was denied, and
  • Make sure the participant knows they may request an administrative hearing.

It is particularly important to document support service denials in eJAS so we will have the information needed to justify the denial if they request an administrative hearing.

2.2.9 How do I request an Exception to Rule?

When necessary, you can request an exception to rule (ETR) to exceed the support services annual limit or when a need is outside the written policy limitations. This is a formal exception request process where headquarters staff make the decision. State office may approve these exceptions when the participant's situation differs from the majority and has a significant impairment or limitation that isn’t addressed by current limits. Explain to the participant, when you submit these requests, there is no guarantee state office will approve them.

To request an exception to rule, the WorkFirst staff must complete the Barcode ETR request process. For complete instructions on processing an ETR the EA-Z Manual provides more details.

When a participant has an emergency situation that seriously jeopardizes family health or safety, ask your supervisor to request emergency supports to exceed the annual limit. This option is reserved for families who face imminent harm and need active crisis intervention, like covering gas and relocation costs for a family actively fleeing domestic violence. Your supervisor will be able to call in these emergency requests to state office for immediate decisions.

2.2.10 Support Services - Step-by-Step Guide

For complete eJAS directions, click "Help" on the eJAS page when help is needed. Note: WF CSD staff can utilize the Determining and Authorizing Support Services Flowchart.

  1. WorkFirst staff or ESD Career Scope Coach:
    1. Determines needed support services based on the activities in the IRP, to attend WorkFirst Orientation, or for emergency situations.
      1. Discusses the best option with the participant to provide services and vendors, and whether a voucher or fuel card, better fits their needs (based on the determined need, explain the process of how the services will be issued; i.e., card or voucher).
      2. Reviews past support services authorized by DSHS, Commerce, ESD, or SBCTC to ensure no duplication of supports.
      3. Determines the best and/or lowest-cost alternative (for example, request two estimates for car repair).
      4. Determines how participant chooses to receive (direct issuance, by mail or pick-up at local office).
    2. Authorizes and issues support services, following local office procedure, including:
      1. Creating voucher/s:
        1. Enters detailed information on the voucher, outlining what's being purchased and the cost of each participant item (e.g. "Car repair - For repair of the transmission on 2010 Ford Escape not to exceed $XXX).
        2. Prints and signs the voucher. Obtains embossing of WorkFirst seal and signature from a supervisor or designated staff for all vouchers, which validates to the vendor the document is an original. The voucher is "invalid unless embossed." The only exception is direct payment vouchers. 
      2. Issuing fuel cards, bus passes or bus tickets. *Follow the Support Services Negotiables Internal Controls & Purchasing Manual -  - now located on the WorkFirst SharePoint Site.
Please note: Cancel pending requests if the fuel card isn't picked up within 10 business days from the authorization date.

       c. Documents in eJAS support services notes the reasons for selecting and authorizing support services and answers the following:

  1. What resources are currently available or quickly obtained?
  2. How much do they need to reserve to cover their on-going needs?
  3. What lower cost alternative are available, if any?
  4. How do they plan to take over ongoing costs in the future?
  • Guidance for signing vouchers can be found in the Supervisor Review Reference Guide.
  • For ESD, please refer to the Internal Controls Manual.
  • Commerce Program providers, refer to your Commerce WorkFirst Contract.

2.2.11 Special Instructions for vouchers with direct payments without a participant's signature

This may include payments for mental health assessments, medical records requests, Department of Licensing (DOL) online purchases, or any payments made on behalf of the participant (these vouchers aren't given directly to the participant). In the event you can't obtain the participant’s signature and efforts have been made to secure the signature, the issuing WorkFirst staff:

  • Documents the reason for not obtaining the participant signature in eJAS notes.
  • Writes on the voucher (participant signature line) “see eJAS notes dated mm/dd/yy” for an explanation,
  • Prints and signs voucher,
  • Obtains the supervisor or designated staff signature, and
  • Submits the voucher for payment.

2.2.12 Special Instructions for Travel Advance Vouchers (DSHS only)

  1. To create a travel advance voucher or an advance to a vendor for gas:
    1. Give the participant the WorkFirst Travel and Attendance form, DSHS 07-073(X) .
    2. Instruct the participant to keep a detailed record of miles traveled for the WorkFirst activity(s).
    3. Inform the participant the advance is automatically deducted from the next travel payment.
  2. To purchase services or items from a single vendor for multiple participants (such as bus passes)
    1. Use a bulk purchase log to attribute the participant costs to the appropriate participants; and,
    2. A voucher for bulk purchases.

2.2.13 Special Instructions - Department of Licensing (DOL)

When a participant requests DOL-related support services, WorkFirst staff follow the steps below for DOL services:

  1. For in person-level services such as a driver’s license, CDL, drivers abstract or state identification card:
    1. Create a voucher using vendor ID: SWV0011175E1
    2. Inform the participant to take the voucher to any DOL office.
  2. For vehicle-related DOL online services including eligible renewal of vehicle tabs.

​WorkFirst staff:

  1. Determine if a participant is eligible for online services using a Vehicle Tabs Checklist (DSHS Form 07-110).
  2. If a participant is not eligible for online services:
    1. Provide clear documentation in eJAS client notes detailing why online services were denied.
    2. Follow the current process outlined in #3 of this section for issuing a voucher/warrant.
  3. If a participant is eligible for online services:
    1. Complete the Vehicle Tabs Checklist, generate voucher using vendor id: SWV003545973, and submit to a Supervisor for review and signature.
    2. Scan and email Vehicle Tabs Checklist and voucher to Regional Headquarters at one of the following:
    3. Scanned documents don't need to be saved or sent to the case record.

3. For vehicle-related DOL services not eligible for online payments, including title transfers and tabs expired 13 or more months ago:

WorkFirst staff:

  1. Create a voucher using vendor id: SWV0011175E6 and scan to at ESA HQ - Accounting.
    1. ESA HQ - Accounting creates a warrant and mails to the local office.
  2. Receives the warrant and contact the participant to let them know the voucher is ready for pickup at the local office and:
    1. Require the participant to sign the voucher as a receipt of the warrant;
    2. Inform the participant they can take the warrant to any vehicle licensing office (Independent distributor or county office) to pay for the service.

Note: This process can take 5 to 10 business days.

2.2.14 Special Instructions – Department of Transportation (DOT)

 When a participant requests DOT Good To Go support services, the WorkFirst staff:

  1. Advises the participant they are required to set up a Good To Go account with DOT if they don’t already have an account. Any additional usage after the balance of the account reaches zero will be mailed to the address on the vehicle registration as a toll bill.
  2. Determines the voucher amount, which could include the $5.00 Good To Go pass and any subsequent tolls, which may vary across the state. A minimum deposit of $30.00 is required to open a Good To Go account.

Active/Open Good To Go Account (process may take 2-5 days):

  1. Create a voucher using subcategory 43 public transportation and vendor ID: SWV000801117, include the Good To Go account number in the voucher and scan to at ESA HQ - Accounting.
  2. ESA HQ - Accounting electronically deposits the funds directly into the Good To Go account.

No Active/Open Good To Go Account (process may take 10-14 days):

  1. Create a voucher using category 43 public transportation and vendor ID: SWV000801117 and scan to at ESA HQ - Accounting.
  2. ESA HQ - Accounting creates a warrant and mails to the CSO.
  3. WorkFirst staff receives the warrant and contacts the participant to let them know the voucher is ready for pickup at the local office and:
    1. Requires the participant to sign the voucher as a receipt of the warrant;
    2. Let the participant know they can take the warrant to any Good To Go Walk-in Customer Service Centers to open an account and pay for the service.

2.2.15 Special Instructions - U-Haul

When a participant requests U-Haul related support services, WorkFirst staff follow the steps below to issue these services:

  1. Require the participant to provide a quote for the rental services.
  2. Create an eJAS voucher using vendor number SWV007033600.
  3. Email with a request for a gift certificate in a specific amount with a description of what the participant is reserving. In the email, attach both the quote from U-Haul and the approved signed voucher. The request will be processed within 24 business hours. 
  4. Receive gift certificate email from CSD Headquarters and contact the participant to:
    1. Pick-up the printed gift certificate from the local office; or
    2. Verbally give the participant the gift certificate number over the phone; and
    3. Ensure the participant understands:
      1. They must present the gift certificate or number to U-Haul and sign the rental agreement.
      2. They must keep the gift certificate or number because a replacement can’t be issued.
      3. Neither DSHS nor Corporate U-Haul is responsible for any additional charges.


2.2.16 Special Instructions - Inpatient Treatment

This process outlines the steps staff should take when a participant is in an inpatient treatment facility and requests support services from a CSO outside their originating CSO’s catchment area.  The steps only apply to participants planning to return to their originating CSO after treatment:

  1. The originating CSO:

    1. Discusses necessary support services with participant for inpatient treatment.
    2. Issues support services at the time of setting up the IRP with inpatient treatment activity.
      1. Updates the mailing address to the treatment facility address and documents the change in ACES and eJAS
    3. Reviews support service procedures if additional support services are requested while in inpatient treatment to determine if the participant meets support service criteria in this chapter.
Note: Many treatment centers offer supports including diapers, personal hygiene products and transportation if the participant can’t afford these items.
  1. When a participant is in inpatient treatment and goes into a local CSO for support services, the CSO:

    1. Coordinates with the WorkFirst staff of record to follow the above process.
    2. Determines that a support service is appropriate if unable to make contact with the WorkFirst staff of record.
    3. Transfers the case record to the CSO near the treatment facility to create and issue the support service.
    4. Transfers the case record back to the originating CSO for continued case management. 

2.2.17 End of the State Fiscal Year Process?

As we approach the end of the state fiscal year, follow the instruction below:

1. Before or on June 30:


  • Advise the participant to use voucher prior to June 30..
  • Receive the purchase or service.

Bulk Purchases

Until further notice, bulk purchases may not be made by any office or region without approval through ETR from HQ. The only exception is transportation bulk purchases, which require approval from Regional Coordinators.

The following is the approval process for CSO transportation bulk purchases:

  • CSO submits the request to the Regional WorkFirst Coordinator for WorkFirst Support Services, and/or the Social Services Coordinator for ABD or MCS with the following information:
    • Program (e.g. WorkFirst or ABD or MCS)
    • Type of the bulk purchase (e.g. bus passes or tickets)
    • Item amount of the purchase (e.g. number of passes or tickets)
  • The Regional Coordinator makes the determination and notifies the appropriate CSO of the approval or denial of the purchase.

After the CSO has received approval, the CSO uses support services log when issuing bus tickets, bus passes and other transportation negotiable to a participant. The support services log needs to be included with the monthly CSO Negotiable Inventory Reports sent to ESA HQ Fiscal.

  • Create voucher for purchase.
  • Receive the bulk purchase merchandise.

Mileage reimbursement

  • Obligate mileage reimbursement to the participant if the mileage form is returned.
  • If the reimbursement form is turned in after June 30, process the payment for the previous program year.


  • Process as usual
    • No payments are authorized the last four working days of the month.
  • All payments use the current allocation year.


2. After June 30:


  • If the participant did not use the voucher until July
    • Create a new voucher for the new program year.
    • Attach the returned voucher for payment to the new voucher.

Bulk Purchases

  • If bulk purchases are received after July 1, deobligate and reissue the voucher in new program year.


  • If the service or purchase were done before July 1, process the payment using the year the voucher was obligated in.


  • Regions should add $10,000 to each offices allocation for the new program year.

2.2.18 What are the Supervisor Tools? How do supervisors navigate the Financial Reporting System in eJAS?

eJAS contains many tools to help supervisors track support services expenditures. From the eJAS Home page menu there are a variety of “paths” a supervisor can take to review vouchers, fuel cards and other support services and the issues they may have.

Financial Reporting - Supervisors use the Financial Reporting page to:

  • View a specific voucher or batch header.
  • View payments to a specific vendor.
  • Print reports of unpaid vouchers, outstanding obligations for the office, or payments made to a specific client or vendor.

Payment Maintenance - Supervisors use the Payment Maintenance page to:

  • Create a Bulk Purchase Voucher.
  • Transportation Reimbursement.
  • Voucher Maintenance.
  • Access the Pre-created Support Services tool.
    • Pre-Created Reports for Support Services allows supervisors to inquire on the support services expenditures at CSO, or worker level as close to real time as possible. Pre-Created Reports for Support Services is useful for:
      • Monitoring spending at CSOs
      • Reviewing outstanding vouchers
      • Reviewing the types of support services issued by workers and the office. This can help a supervisor see if their office is using all support services available to participants.

Note: When using Pre-Created Reports for Support Services, the WorkFirst Project Code is 2471 How do supervisors monitor and transfer funds for their local office?

Each region receives funding at the beginning of each state fiscal year (SFY) to distribute to the CSOs to provide support services to WorkFirst participants. These are placed into an “account” for each CSO by the regional WorkFirst Coordinator and are referred to as Allocations. To learn more about what decisions go into determining how money is allocated to your CSO, or how to have more funds made available for your CSO, contact your regional WorkFirst Coordinator.

Support services allocations for each CSO can be found under “Allocations” from the eJAS Home page. On that page, you can see:

  • Support Service Max – Shows you how much money has been budgeted for a particular CSO, for the current state fiscal year, and shows a percentage of remaining money compared to how much has been obligated. The dollar amount can change during the year, speak to your local regional coordinator about the amount there and if more funds are available.
    • Allocation – Shows how much funding is currently available to the CSO for support services. Supervisors can move these funds around to the appropriate field, depending on how they decide to monitor the budget.
    • Allocation Balance – Shows how much money is available to be used by WorkFirst staff to create/issue vouchers and fuel cards for participants. If there is not enough funding available, eJAS will not allow the voucher or fuel card to be created/issued.
    • Obligation Total – Shows how much funding has been issued in vouchers/fuel cards/bulk purchases.
    • Payments – Shows how much funding has been processed and paid to the vendor.
    • Obligation Balance – Shows how much funding is still outstanding and has not been processed for payment. Vouchers take time to get to the vendor, and then back to DSHS for payment. Note: When vouchers are canceled, the funding moves from this column, back to Allocation Balance.
  • Early Exit – No longer used. When, why and where do supervisors audit support services?

Audits are an important tool for a variety of reasons:

  • Ensure workers are making the best possible, and equitable, decisions when issuing support services, as well as documenting the approval, issuance, and denial of support services.
    • Find areas of:
      • Improvement needed by staff, which could include under or overuse.  Improvement cannot happen if we don’t know where we excel and where we need to make some adjustments.
      • Successes and best practices achieved by staff. We should acknowledge and celebrate them. Audits are not just meant to find problems, but also to find where we do our best work. Morale is improved for everyone when we get to commend someone on a job well done!
      • Policies and procedures that are not working as intended.
  • Support services audits are completed monthly, for the previous month, for support services issued to WorkFirst participants. It’s important to complete audits timely so any feedback given is relevant to everyone’s current work and corrections can be made quickly and successes can be built upon.

    • The current expectation is 10% of the total support services issued each month.

    • All support services audits are completed in COACH



Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

Forms & Other Resources

2.3 Working Connections Child Care (WCCC)

Revised October 1, 2021

Legal References:

The Working Connections Child Care section includes:

  • 2.3.1 What is Working Connections Child Care (WCCC)?
  • 2.3.2 Who is eligible for WCCC (and for how long)?
  • 2.3.3 Are Tribal families eligible for WCCC?
  • 2.3.4 What activities does WCCC cover?
  • 2.3.5 What is safe and affordable child care?
  • 2.3.6 What are the requirements for an in-home/relative child care provider?
  • 2.3.7 What are WCCC copayments?
  • 2.3.8 WCCC - Step-by-Step Guide to apply for WCCC.

2.3.1 What is WCCC?

Working Connections Child Care, or WCCC, is the child care subsidy program that helps families with children pay for child care to find jobs, keep their jobs, and get better jobs. The WCCC program is administered by the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).

2.3.2 Who is eligible for WCCC (and for how long)?

A family can get WCCC as long as they meet all of the program's eligibility requirements within 14 days of application (receipt of WCCC doesn't count toward the WorkFirst cash assistance five year time limit). The two main categories of WCCC-eligible families are:

  • WorkFirst cash assistance families: Participants who are DSHS or Tribal WorkFirst participants in approved WorkFirst activities, and applicants waiting to enter an approved activity such as attending the new WorkFirst Orientation as a requirement of eligibility.
  • Non-WorkFirst families: Working families whose countable income is at or below 60% of the state median income (SMI). The SMI guideline adjusts for family size.

A WorkFirst Program Specialist or Social Service Specialist can give families who have questions and need WCCC coverage a copy of the flyer called General Information for WorkFirst Participants Needing Child Care Subsidy Assistance. For example, you may want to use the flyer when you complete or update the participants Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP). The flyer gives basic information about how to apply for childcare.

2.3.3 Are Tribal families eligible for WCCC?

Tribal families are unique because they may participate in either a DSHS WorkFirst or a Tribal WorkFirst program and may require child care in order to participate.

Tribal families have the benefit of "dual eligibility" for child care. This allows families to receive child care coverage from either the WCCC program or through their tribal organization. The WCCC program doesn't require the Tribal family be denied child care by the tribe before applying for WCCC. If a tribal family finds they aren't eligible through the WCCC program, they can still apply through the tribe.

Tribal families may receive their WorkFirst cash assistance from a Tribal TANF Program or from DSHS TANF program (Please see Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-400-0005 for budgeting Tribal TANF). The Tribal program needs to contact WCCC to verify participation within 14 days of application. Tribal families who receive only food and/or medical benefits can be considered a Non-WorkFirst cash assistance recipient for WCCC purposes.

2.3.4 What activities does WCCC cover?

WCCC can subsidize child care needed during the hours a participant is working, in an approved training plan or engaged in other types of approved WorkFirst activities, or waiting to enter an approved activity such as completing WorkFirst Orientation as a requirement of WorkFirst cash eligibility.

A WorkFirst participant can be authorized for WCCC when they apply for TANF and/or begin participating in an approved WorkFirst activity as outlined in their Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP). Child care is terminated if the participant isn't placed in an approved WorkFirst activity within 14 days of application. 

2.3.5 What is safe and affordable child care?

WCCC consumers can choose to use licensed/certified family child care homes and child care centers. Consumers may also use what we call "in-home/relative" providers. An in-home/relative provider must be:

  • An adult chosen by the WCCC consumer to provide child care in the consumer's own home, or
  • An adult relative (to specific degree) where the consumer may choose child care in either the consumer's or the relative's home.

It is very important to ensure that WorkFirst participants have safe and affordable child care (for their children under 13 years old) while they participate in work or other IRP activities. If a participant does not have adequate child care, we refer them to the WCCC worker for help.

We never require WorkFirst participants to engage in WorkFirst activities until they locate child care (for their children under 13 years) that is:

  • Affordable (doesn't cost more than the copayment would under the WCCC program);
  • Appropriate (licensed, certified, or approved under federal, state, or tribal law and regulations for the type of care they use and that they were able to choose, within locally available options, who would provide it); and
  • Within a reasonable distance (within reach without traveling farther than is expected in their community).

Participants who have children (0-18 years old) with special needs may have additional difficulties finding safe and affordable care. WCCC offers these families additional resources in the form of:

  • A special needs rate to providers, and
  • Referrals to Public Health Nurses for assessment of the child. The assessment determines how the child's needs affect the parent's ability to participate in WorkFirst activities (See the link to the PHN Referral Form in the Resource section below.)

2.3.6 What are the requirements for in-home/relative childcare provider?

Participants applying to use an in-home/relative care provider may need to wait to receive required background check results. The WCCC program starts authorization for payment for child care based on the date the provider is approved. The WCCC program doesn't pay for in-home/relative child care provided before the provider is approved. This policy is designed to protect the health and safety of children.

When establishing participation requirements for participant who are waiting for in-home child care approval, DSHS staff has the following options:

  • Under parental choice, a participant can decide to use an unapproved in-home/relative provider, but you must document clearly in the case record that they understand the department doesn't pay for these services.
  • The participant is required to look for appropriate, alternative child care until an in-home provider is approved for payment. The following situations are considered inappropriate for short-term, temporary child care, and would, therefore allow the participant to wait for in-home coverage before they participate:
    • Care is needed for a child under one year old;
    • Care is needed for multiple children and can only be provided by multiple child care providers;
    • The participant can demonstrate that the child cannot function outside of her or his home environment; or,
    • An exception to rule is approved for other situations, not covered above, that pose an unusual and significant risk to the family from using available child care.

Refer the participant to your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency to get help finding licensed child care. The CCR&R can be reached at 1 (800)-446-1114.

Document the circumstances in the participant's case notes if they won't be required to seek child care while an in-home/relative care request is pending. Refer to Participation While Resolving Issues section for the procedures to monitor the case while no child care is available.

2.3.7 What are WCCC copayments?

A participant's monthly contribution toward the cost of child care is called a copayment. The copayment is based on family size and countable income in relation to 60% of the state median income (SMI) guidelines.

There are five copayment "levels" based on the family's countable income:

If household income is: Then the household's maximum monthly copayment is:
0 to 20% SMI No copay
More than 20% to 36% SMI $65 Copay
More that 36% to 50% SMI $90 Copay
More than 50% to 60% SMI $115 Copay. Families over 60% SMI at application are not eligible.
More than 60% to 65% SMI $215 Copay. Second tier eligibility is for families reapplying and under 65% SMI.


For additional information about copayments,  refer to the Child Care Subsidy Programs Manual.

2.3.8 WCCC - Step-by-Step Guide to apply for WCCC.

  1. The WFPS/WFSSS ensures the participants are engaged in approved WorkFirst activity and refers them to a WCCC worker for further application needs.
  2. WFPS/WFSSS can't apply for, or approve child care. The participant must choose from the options below when applying for WCCC:
  • Online, Washington Connections at and complete the application online, or
  • Apply by phone at toll free, 1 (844) 626-8687 (application hours are; Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) or
  • Complete the child care application form in person, at the local CSO office, or mail the application to the following address as follows:


Child Care Subsidy Contact Center
Department of Children, Youth, and Families
PO Box 11346, Tacoma, WA 98411-9903


Note: The fax number, if using a fax to send in the application is as follows: 1 (877) 309-9747.

The applicant or participant needs to provide information when applying for WCCC as follows:

  • The activity schedule, including the anticipated days per week and scheduled times child care is needed. Example: Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm or, Saturday 5:30 pm to midnight.
  • If working, wage stubs or verification of gross income for the past 3 months.
  • Travel time from the chosen daycare location, to the WorkFirst activity or employer if working.
  • General provider information. Child care provider information, to seek a provider, call 1-(800)-446-1114.
  • Payment start dates depends on the type of provider chosen, (licensed or unlicensed) and the provider's eligibility, including verification the provider passed the background check. (When using an unlicensed friend or family member provider.)
  • A licensed provider can be an option, while the background check is being processed for the unlicensed provider.

Note:  There may be cases where the participant has already applied for WCCC at application.  WCCC is approved initially for the applicant to complete all TANF eligibility requirements and must be in an approved WorkFirst activity within 14 days of application to continue receiving WCCC without breaking the continuity of care.


The WCCC authorizing worker:

  1. Helps the WorkFirst participant find safe, affordable and appropriate child care, as needed.
  2. Confirms the participant is in an approved activity plan, as necessary.

Note: More detailed information about the WCCC Program can be found in the resource section below.


Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

Other Resources