Completing the Process

Revised July 1, 2021


This section contains rules and procedures related to application approvals, denials and withdrawals, including notification requirements, eligibility effective dates for approved applications, limits on denial actions, and when we may reconsider a denied application.

WAC 388-406-0050 How do I know when my application is processed?

WAC 388-406-0055 When do my benefits start?

WAC 388-406-0060 What happens when my application is denied?

WAC 388-406-0065 Can I still get benefits even after my application is denied?

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-406-0055

Basic Food and Transitional Food Assistance:

Transitional Food Assistance (TFA) provides five months of basic food benefits as a fixed benefit amount for families leaving TANF or Tribal TANF. When someone moves out of a TFA household, they aren't automatically removed from the TFA assistance unit.

Federal rules don't allow people to receive benefits under the Food Stamp program in more than one household at the same time. This includes basic food and TFA.

  • When an active member of a TFA AU moves away and applies for basic food in a different household, we must remove the applicant from the TFA AU before starting basic food or adding them to someone else’s basic food AU.
  • The applicant is eligible for basic food effective the first of the month after they were removed from the TFA AU with advance notice.
EXAMPLE: Mark, Heidi and Lance receive TFA with a certification period of March through July. On April 3rd, Lance moves out and is approved to receive basic food with his girlfriend Amber. Their worker removes Lance from Mark and Heidi’s TFA AU effective April 30th. Lance is added to Amber’s benefits effective May 1st.
EXAMPLE: Same scenario as above, but Amber applies to add Lance to her basic food on April 25th. We don't have time to provide Mark and Heidi 10 days adverse-action notice and remove Lance from their TFA benefits by April 30th.Their worker removes Lance from Mark and Heidi’s TFA AU effective May 31st. Lance is added to Amber’s benefits effective June 1st.
ABD cash: If the date of release from the facility or institution is beyond the forty-five day processing period, the beginning date of assistance is the date the applicant is released or approved, whichever is later.
EXAMPLE: Mark applies for ABD cash on August 17th. He is scheduled to be released from Walla Walla Correctional facility on September 1st. His forty-five days ends on September 30th. We receive the medical evidence and establish disability on September 28th. He is released on October 5th. Mark is eligible for benefits beginning October 5th.

Worker Responsibilities -WAC 388-406-0055

  1. For approved applications processed outside the applicant’s catchment area, transfer the case record to the correct CSO and notify the applicant of the CSO address and phone number.Use ACES Letter 023-03 - Information/Action Request for Transfer. 
  2. For applicants ineligible for benefits because they are institutionalized, open:
    1. Basic Food from the date:
      1. Of release from the institution, if released within 30 days from the date of application and we have the information needed to determine eligibility; or
      2. We have the information needed to determine eligibility, if released within 30 days from the date of application, and the information was received after the 30th day but before the 60th day, and the delay was caused by the applicant.
    2. Cash assistance from the date:
      1. Of release if released within 30 days from the date of application and we have the information needed to determine eligibility for TANF, SFA, PWA, or RCA; or
      2. Of release if the release date is past the forty-fifth day processing deadline; or
      3. We have the information needed to determine eligibility, but no later than the 30th day for TANF, SFA, PWA, or RCA.
NOTE: The system doesn't use an applicant's date of release from an institution or the date delayed verification was received as the start date for basic food. If the application is already screened, deny the existing application and re-screen basic food using the applicant's release date, or the date delayed verification was received, as the date of application.
EXAMPLE: Cody applies for basic food on May 1st. We schedule the appointment for May 20th and give them until May 30th to provide information needed to determine eligibility. On June 3rd we deny the application. Cody gives us the needed information on June 12th. Good cause doesn't exist. Since Cody caused the delay, open basic food from June 12th. Don't request a new application to open benefits.
EXAMPLE: Same scenario as Example 1, except we schedule the appointment on June 1st. Cody is given until June 11th to provide information and doesn’t provide it until June 13th. Since the delay is our fault because we didn’t schedule an appointment timely (see WAC 388-452-0005 (6)), we must open benefits from the date of application (May 1st).
EXAMPLE: Taylor applies for basic food on July 1st and is interviewed the same day. The application is denied on July 15th for failure to provide information. Taylor submits the required information on August 10th and is determined to be eligible. Approve benefits effective August 10th. When rescreening the AU, use August 10th as the new application date.
EXAMPLE: Same as the previous scenario, except Taylor submits the information on July 20th. Rescreen and start benefits from the date of application (July 1st) because the information was received within 30 days.
EXAMPLE: Sam applied for basic food on May 15th. They were interviewed on May 20th and asked to provide additional information by May 30th. They were determined eligible for Equal Access and contacted the department to get assistance in obtaining the required verification. The department was able to help obtain the verification on June 24th. The application wasn't processed within 30 days, but Sam was eligible for EA and cooperated with the department to obtain the required verification. Open benefits effective the date of application (May 15th).

Processing an NCS Application:

See WORKER RESPONSIBILITIES Non-Compliance Sanctions (NCS) Re-Applicants

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-406-0060

For basic food, when the thirty-day period ends on a weekend or a holiday the denial notice is sent the first working day after the thirtieth day.

Worker Responsibilities -WAC 388-406-0060

If a basic food applicant doesn't show for the required initial interview:

  1. Send a letter immediately informing the applicant to contact their worker to schedule another appointment.


  1. If a basic food applicant fails to show for the second interview:
    1. Continue the case as pending if the interview is scheduled before the 30th day.
    2. Deny the application on the appointment date if the interview is scheduled after the 30th day.
  1. Deny the application on the 30th day if the household doesn't reschedule the interview. If the 30th day falls on a weekend or holiday, the applicant has until the close of the next business day to complete the interview. Send the denial letter on the next working day if the interview isn't completed.
NOTE:If an applicant is applying for classic medical as well as other programs, they aren't required interview for the classic medical. Most other programs require an interview. The worker must manually track the other assistance units and deny the application on the correct date.

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-406-0065

Processing Basic Food Applications for Individuals Ineligible Due to Duplicate Participation

When applicants apply for basic food and are ineligible for benefits during the month of application because they received benefits from another state:

  •  Deny the application for the initial month (and second month if necessary) if they have already received or will receive SNAP benefits from the other state for that month(s).
  •  If basic food benefits can be approved for the ongoing months and the benefit start date is not more than sixty days from the initial application date, a new application isn't needed.
    EXAMPLE: Theo moved to Washington from Nevada and applies for benefits on 3/15. We interview them on 4/2 and determine they are financially eligible at the time, except that they received 3/2021 and 4/2021 benefits from the other state. We have verified that they won't receive benefits in 5/2021. Correctly deny basic food for March and April for duplicate participation and approves benefits for May 2021 and ongoing. Use the initial application until May 14.

Worker Responsibilities -WAC 388-406-0065

  1. Reconsidering a Denied Application
    If the applicant provides only part of the information we need per the timelines in WAC 388-406-0065 (1), take the following actions:
  2. Review the case to see if we can determine eligibility for each program based on what we have received; and
  3. Send the applicant a letter advising of our reconsideration decision for each program. This includes:
    1. An approval letter if we can determine they're eligible;
    2. A new denial letter if we are able to determine they're ineligible; or
    3. A second denial letter indicating the original denial reason and effective date stands and why.
EXAMPLE: We request verification of income, residence, and utilities due by 5/15. This isn't provided, and we send a denial letter on 5/20. The applicant then provides the residence and income verification on 5/30. This is within 30 days of the denial, and is sufficient to determine eligibility. We approve benefits from the appropriate date and advise the applicant in the approval letter that utilities weren't considered in the benefit decision, as that requested verification wasn't provided.
EXAMPLE: Same as above, but the applicant provides only the income verification. This information shows them to be over the program’s gross income standard. We send a new denial letter to the applicant advising of the change in denial reason.
EXAMPLE: Same as above, but the applicant provides only the residence verification. We can't determine eligibility without the income information. We send a letter to the applicant advising that we received the partial information, but the denial from 5/20 stands as we still don't have the income and utility verification we require.
  1. NCS Re-applicants who failed to complete their 28 day participation:
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