Basic Food Work Requirements - Work Registration

Revised: March 5, 2020


WAC 388-444-0005 Am I required to work or look for work in order to be eligible for Basic Food?


Clarifying Information - WAC 388-444-0005

Exempt clients (per WAC 388-444-0010) are not required to register for work, so they are not work registrants.

Non-exempt clients are people who receive Basic Food and must be registered for work. They are considered work registrants, and further divided into two groups:

Work Registrants 

  • Clients age 16 through 59 who do not meet an exemption listed in WAC 388-444-0010 must register for work and meet Work Registration requirements.
  • There are no time limits for non-ABAWD work registrants.
  • Participation in Employment & Training is voluntary in Washington State.
  • Work registrants who voluntarily reduce their work hours below 30 hours a week will face a penalty
  • DSHS registers the clients for work by completing the WORK Registration screen in ACES/3G.


 Work Registrants Who are ABAWDs

  • Able Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) are a subset of Work Registrants who must meet further requirements in order to remain eligible for benefits.
  • Able-bodied adults ages 18 through 49, without dependents, and without a physical or mental disability preventing them from working, and who live in an non-waived area, are required to participate in specific activities outlined in the ABAWD WACs to stay eligible for Basic Food and avoid the three month time limit.    
  • ABAWD clients are referred to options to meet their participation requirements.

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-444-0005

  1. During application, add a person or eligibility review, determine if members of the Basic Food household are non-exempt work registrants or exempt.
  2. For any exempt work registrants, code the most appropriate exemption per current procedure.
  3. For any non-exempt work registrant, determine if the client(s) is considered ABAWD.
  4. If a WorkFirst household is sanctioned, determine whether or not the sanctioned persons are exempt from Basic Food work requirements.  Disqualify non-participating members of the TANF household from receiving Basic Food unless they are exempt under WAC 388-444-0010.