Age Requirements

Revised April 29, 2013


This chapter explains age and school requirements for a child to be eligible for TANF or SFA and the definition of "elderly" for food assistance programs.

WAC 388-404-0005 How does a child's age and attendance in school affect their eligibility for TANF and SFA?

WAC 388-404-0015 Definition of elderly person for food and cash assistance programs.

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-404-0005

  1. When a child turns 18:

    1. They are considered an adult and can receive assistance for themselves and their children.

    2. They must participate full-time in a secondary education program or an equal level of vocational training to be eligible for assistance.

    3. The child's eligibility for TANF/SFA ends on the last day of the month in which the child turns 18 if the child:

      1. Is not participating in their education on a full-time basis.

      2. Has met the basic requirements to complete the education or training program even if they haven't gone though the official graduation ceremony.

  2. Needy caretaker relative of a child receiving SSI:

If the only child that meets the TANF/SFA age requirement gets SSI, the child parent or needy caretaker relative can get TANF or SFA for their own needs as long as the child meets the requirements of WAC 388-404-0005.

  1. Education:

    See VERIFICATION for information on how to verify a child's age or school attendance.

    See TEEN PARENTS for the school attendance requirements for TANF and SFA AUs that have an unmarried parent under the age of 18. 

    1. If a child is on summer vacation, we count the child as participating if they:
      1. Didn't finish the basic requirements to complete the program; and
      2. Are enrolled or intend to enroll as a full-time student for the next academic year.
    2. If a nineteen or 20 year old student attends only English as a Second Language classes or participated in non-state approved home schooling, as defined by RCW 28A.225.010(4), the student is not eligible for SFA.
    3. A child in special education meets the school's definition of disabled and the requirements of WAC 388-404-0005(3) and is eligible for SFA. 

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-404-0005

  1. ACES will generate an alert to notify the worker that a child is nearing their 18th birthday.  Review the case record when you get the alert.
  2. Verify the child's age, school attendance, and the date the child is expected to complete school as needed.

    1. If the child will have their 18th birthday during a summer vacation month, contact the school before the end of the school year to find out when the child will complete the program.  Update ACES based on the information provided by the school.

    2. Verify that the child:

      1. Is in a program that will lead to getting their diploma, GED, or equal level of vocational or technical training;

      2. Is making satisfactory progress toward completing the program; and

      3. Meets the institution's attendance requirement for a full-time student.

    3. Set an alert in ACES to follow up with the school as needed if:

      1. The school is not certain about the date they expect the child to complete their education; or

      2. Based on case history, you expect the child may not participate through the entire review period. 

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-404-0015

See WAC 388-408-0035  to decide if an elderly and disabled person can be in a separate food assistance unit.

See WAC 388-416-0005 to decide how long to certify an AU when all members are elderly.

See WAC 388-450-0190  for information on the food assistance shelter deduction for AUs with an elderly or disabled member.

See WAC 388-450-0200  to decide if an elderly food assistance client can have an income deduction for their out-of-pocket medical expenses over $35.

See WAC 388-470-0005  for the maximum resource limit for AUs with an elderly member. 


ACES Procedures 

  • See Interview - (DEM2) – Client Demographic 2 Screen for student status.
  • See Interview - (ALAS) – Aliens, Students and Medically Indigent Screen for education level, school name, completion date, and special ed. exemption.