About Economic Services Administration

Nearly one out of every four Washington residents turns to the Economic Services Administration (ESA) in the Department of Social and Health Services for assistance with cash, food, child support, child care, disability determination, transition to employment, and other services.  Each day, more than 4,000 ESA employees provide families and individuals across the state with the resources and support they need to build better lives.  In 2013, ESA served more than 1.5 million people – representing approximately 22 percent of all Washington State residents.

ESA’s core services focus on:

  •  Poverty Reduction & Self-Sufficiency – Helping low-income people meet their basic needs and achieve economic independence through cash grants, food, and medical assistance; employment-focused services; and subsidized child care. Major programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and WorkFirst (Washington’s Welfare to Work program); Basic Food (formerly the Food Stamp Program); Aged, Blind, or Disabled; Pregnant Women’s Assistance; Refugee Cash Assistance; Working Connections Child Care; and medical assistance.
  • Child Support Enforcement & Financial Recovery – Ensuring parents live up to the responsibility of supporting their children and improving the self-sufficiency of families through increased financial and medical support. In addition to child support, the administration’s collection of other debts owed to the Department protects taxpayers, while helping programs meet current expenditures and provide financial assistance, medical care and other benefits and services to those in need.
  • Disability Determination – Determining whether individuals applying for Social Security disability benefits have a disability that prevents them from working. Under contract with the Social Security Administration, Disability Determination Services determines whether individuals qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration and for medical assistance.