Consolidated Emergency Assistance Program - CEAP

Revised December 18, 2023


This section describes a cash program available to families or pregnant individuals who face an emergency and don’t have the money to meet their basic needs, including families whose TANF cash assistance has been terminated for Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS) or those who have already received 60 months of TANF and do not qualify for a Time Limit Extension. Most cases closed for NCS must participate for four consecutive weeks before they qualify for TANF/SFA. These families may qualify for CEAP until their participation requirement is met. Assistance under this program is limited to not more than thirty consecutive days within a period of twelve consecutive months.

WAC 388-436-0015 Consolidated emergency assistance program - CEAP.

WAC 388-436-0020 CEAP assistance unit composition.

WAC 388-436-0030 How does my eligibility for other possible cash benefits impact my eligibility for CEAP?

WAC 388-436-0035 Income and resources for CEAP.

WAC 388-436-0040 Excluded income and resources for CEAP.

WAC 388-436-0045 Income deductions for CEAP.

WAC 388-436-0050 Determining financial need and benefit amount for CEAP.

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-436-0015

  1. Being a citizen or legal resident alien is not an eligibility requirement for CEAP.
EXAMPLE: A migrant farmworker household consisting of two parents and one child applies for cash assistance. They’re not eligible for ongoing cash assistance since they’re undocumented. TANF is denied and CEAP is now considered to meet the family's current needs, as CEAP is available to undocumented households.
  1. Proof of Social Security numbers isn't required. Don't require the client to provide SSN for the family as an eligibility requirement.
  2. Applicants for CEAP must complete the Client Declaration of Need on the Emergency Assistance Request/Grant Computation form DSHS 14-337(X).  You can use the AREN/CEAP tool listed under forms in Barcode to help you calculate the correct benefit amount.
NOTE: The on-line application or the DSHS 14-001 Application form can be used to request CEAP. If these forms are used, a DSHS 14-337 must still be completed.
  1. For Residency requirements, see RESIDENCY.
  2. Families whose TANF grant has been terminated for Non-Compliance Sanction can apply for CEAP under the same rules as other applicants. WorkFirst participation is not an eligibility requirement for CEAP.

Worker Responsibilities- WAC 388-436-0015

NOTE: For Disaster Cash Assistance, the client does not have to produce proof of expenses unless it is questionable.
  1. Explain to the applicant the limited availability (thirty consecutive days within twelve consecutive months) of this program.
EXAMPLE: The client applies on February 5th with an eviction notice. CEAP is approved on February 6th and a payment is made to the landlord. The client returns on February 10th with an electricity shut off notice. Since it’s within the 30 day period, it can be approved. The client returns again on March 15th with a shut off notice for natural gas, this is denied as it’s after the 30 day period.

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-436-0020

  1. When determining which members of the household will make up the CEAP assistance unit, first look at who must be members through relationship. A child within the family who is step-sibling to one child but half-sibling to another child becomes a mandatory member because of the half-sibling relationship.
A household consists of a married couple, two children belonging to one parent, two children belonging to the other parent, and one child belonging to both parents. The couple wants to exclude the two children of the first parent from the CEAP application because they receive child support income. They are step-siblings to the other parent's two children. The children are mandatory members because they are half-siblings to the child belonging to both parents. All the children must be included.
  1. When adding a caretaker relative other than a parent, or adding step-siblings, determine if it is to the advantage of the assistance unit to add that person. Inform the client that when choosing to add a member who doesn't have to be included, that person's income and resources are considered in determining need and the benefit amount.
  2. A minor parent living in the home of their parents is a mandatory member of the parent's CEAP assistance unit. When the parent's CEAP request is denied because resources and income exceed the need, the minor parent's child only can become a separate CEAP assistance unit if that child has an emergent need.
A minor child can't apply for CEAP by themselves. There must be a parent or relative of specified degree in the household.

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-436-0030

  1. Eligibility and payment amounts for all other DSHS financial, medical and food assistance programs must be determined before CEAP benefits may be approved, except for families who don’t qualify for cash assistance because their case was terminated for NCS.
  2. If the household contains a member who is eligible to receive or is receiving TANF, SFA or RCA, the family's emergency needs may be covered under the AREN benefit provisions in WAC 388-436-0002.
  3. Families receiving TANF/SFA or RCA at a reduced level, due to sanction or penalty, are not eligible for CEAP.

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-436-0035 

An income estimate is based on income already received plus a reasonable expectation of anticipated income for the month of application.

  1. Resources include items such as cash, checking & savings accounts, marketable securities, personal property and real property. Real property is land and buildings. See RESOURCES for more complete information.

  2. If an optional member as described in WAC 388-436-0015 (3) is included in the CEAP assistance unit, the resources and income of that person and that person's spouse are considered available to the CEAP assistance unit. If those income and resources would reduce or deny the CEAP benefit, the optional member can be excluded.

An aunt applies for emergency cash assistance for her niece and wants to be included in the assistance unit as a needy caretaker relative. The income and resources belonging to the aunt and her husband show that no emergency need exists. The aunt can be excluded. She and her husband don't have a legal obligation to support the minor child.

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-436-0040

The equity value of a vehicle is determined by subtracting the amount still owed, from the fair market value (FMV) of the car. The FMV is the average loan value as listed in the NADA Official Used Car Guide, or the wholesale value as listed in the Kelly Bluebook.

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-436-0040

  1. See RESOURCES for:

    1. A complete list of resources exempt under Federal Law;

    2. Determining real property as a home;

    3. The method of establishing values on non-exempt resources.

  2. Document in Remarks behind the Resource screens how income and resource values were established.

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-436-0050

The amounts requested in each category can't exceed the maximum limit allowed. You can find the maximum limit for each category in WAC 388-436-0050.  Excess amounts from one category can't be carried over to another category that is below the maximum.  There is an AREN/CEAP tool in Barcode under forms,that can help you calculate the correct allowable CEAP amounts

 A CEAP assistance unit of 3 persons verifies a need of $500 for rent, and $60 in utilities. Net income and resources equal $100.
  Need Maximum (3 persons) Allowed
Rent $700



Utilities $100



  $624 Total needed or allowed
  $706 Payment standard for 3
  $624 The lesser of the two above
  -100 minus available income and resources
  $424 CEAP payment

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-436-0050

  1. Explain that they may choose to receive the CEAP funds directly or have them sent to a vendor on their behalf.
  2. I f the client does not have an EBT account, then an account must be opened.

ACES Procedures

See Consolidated Emergency Assistance Program - CEAP

Top of Page