BFET offers a variety of services through our community based organizations and State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC colleges.)  You may qualify for BFET if you receive Basic Food Assistance and meet the following requirements;

  • Able to work, look for work or engage in activities for at least 20 hours per week and engage with a case manager.
  • Your participation in this program is currently voluntary in the State of Washington.
  • As a student of higher education (college), you may be required to meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for Basic Food Assistance. BFET may help you meet that criteria.
  • Visit Washington Connection to find more services available to you and your family such as Basic Food.

Please Note: If you Receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Food Assistance (FAP), you are not eligible for BFET services.


Visit your local community services office (CSO) or call our customer contact center at 1-877-501-2233. DSHS staff will send a referral to BFET staff who will provide you information on nearby BFET services.


As of Federal Fiscal Year (FFY 2019), BFET collaborates with 56 CBOs, and 33 community and technical colleges that are part of the State board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) statewide.

Community Based Organizations

Also known as CBOs, Community Based Organizations are contracted agencies across Washington that offer employment and training services. Some of the services include:

  • Guided job search,
  • Job training that enhances resumes and interview skills,
  • Vocational training,
  • General education including GED,
  • Adult Basic Education, and various certification programs.

Community and Technical Colleges

BFET partners with 33 of the Washington Community and Technical Colleges to provide educational training such as vocational education, GED, High School Equivalency and basic skills. If you are enrolled at one of the colleges and are eligible to receive food assistance you may be eligible to receive additional support through the college’s BFET program.

As a student, you may be required to meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for Basic Food Assistance. BFET may help you meet that criteria. Being enrolled in BFET may help to meet student status rules as outlined in WAC 388-482-0005.

You may need to provide documentation to DSHS and the college in order to be eligible for BFET. If you have been denied food benefits due to student status, you’ll need to have a ‘Reverse Referral’ form completed. This form is an agreement between the college and DSHS allowing you to be eligible for benefits. Upon being accepted into the program, you’ll continue your educational activities as normal and engage with a BFET case manager of your college to provide support throughout your term.

This process is only for colleges who are part of the SBCTC system. If you are enrolled in a private or independent college, you can still be enrolled in a BFET program through a community based organization, allowing you to be eligible for food benefits. A case manager that agency can assist in establishing activities based around your educational components, including homework and class time.

Please review our list of colleges that partner with BFET, college provider section here.

BFET and Working Connections Childcare

If you are a parent and are in need of childcare while participating in BFET, you may be eligible to receive childcare assistance depending on the number of hours you are enrolled. Childcare rules have multiple eligibility factors including hours, and current gross income. For more information, please contact our customer contact center at 1-877-501-2233. Please note that you must be enrolled in the program to be considered for this additional service.

Refugees and Immigrants

If you are a refugee and immigrant, you may also be eligible for BFET services through the Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance. Please click here to learn more information on eligibility and enrollment.