Cash Assistance

Revised July 13, 2018

Purpose:

This section contains cash assistance need and payment standards, eligibility standards based on income, and standards for ongoing additional requirements.

WAC 388-478-0005 Cash assistance need and payment standards and grant maximum.

WAC 388-478-0010 Households with obligations to pay shelter costs.

WAC 388-478-0020 Payment standards for TANF, SFA, and RCA. 

  • Clarifying Information 

WAC 388-478-0035 What are the maximum earned income limits for TANF, SFA, PWA and RCA?

WAC 182-515-1500 Payment standard for persons in certain group living facilities.


Clarifying Information - WAC 388-478-0005

DSHS is required by state law [RCW 74.04.770] to establish, on an annual basis, standards of need for cash assistance programs.  These standards are based on studies of actual living costs for basic requirements.  They may vary by program and family size.  Separate standards may be established for assistance units with shelter provided at no cost.

Payment standards are based on assistance unit size and are used to determine eligibility and benefit levels for cash assistance.

The percentage difference between the need and payment standard for an assistance unit is called the ratable reduction.  Starting July 1, 2012, the grant payment cannot exceed the payment standard for a family of eight listed in WAC 388-478-0020.


Clarifying Information - WAC 388-478-0010

In August, 1990, Thurston County Superior Court entered an order in Washington Coalition for the Homeless v. Thompson which held that standards for assistance units with shelter provided at no cost could not be applied to persons and families who are "without assured free shelter."  The department's rule defining persons and families whose eligibility and payment levels must be based on standards for assistance units with obligations to pay shelter costs complies with the court order.

EXAMPLE: Carol and her 12-year-old daughter live in a one-bedroom apartment. Carol signed a rental agreement to rent month to month. Her shelter costs are $150.00 per month and pays $25.00 for water, sewer and garbage per month.   In this scenario, the worker codes At Home (AH) for the living arrangement code of the Clients screen in ACES 3G. Carol has permanent stable housing.
EXAMPLE: Carol and her 12-year-old daughter were evicted due to non-payment of rent. They moved in with Carol’s aunt Teresa, who is 70 years old and resides in a retirement community. Aunt Teresa’s manager has approved for Carol and her 12-year-old child to live with Teresa temporarily. Aunt Teresa is not charging Carol housing costs. In this scenario the worker codes Homeless w/ Housing (HH) for the living arrangement code of the Clients screen in ACES 3G. Carol’s housing is temporary.

EXAMPLE: Carol and her 12-year-old daughter moved into a new apartment with help from their local Coordinated Entry provider through the Consolidated Homeless Grant (CHG). This program provides resources to assist currently homeless people in obtaining and maintaining housing. Although Carol’s rent and utilities are paid for with CHG funds, it is not considered “assured free shelter”. In this scenario, the worker codes Homeless w/ Housing (HH) and documents the living arrangement in the Shelter remarks in ACES 3G.


Clarifying Information - WAC 388-478-0020 

WAC 388-478-0020 Payment standards for TANF, SFA, and RCA.

  1. The payment standards for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families - TANF, State Family Assistance - SFA, and Refugee Cash Assistance - RCA assistance units with obligations to pay shelter costs are:  
Assistance Unit Size Payment Standard Assistance Unit Size Payment Standard
1 $363 6 $877
2 459 7 1,013
3 569 8 1,121
4 670 9 1,231
5 772 10 or more 1,338
  1. The payment standards for TANF, SFA, and RCA assistance units with shelter provided at no cost are:
Assistance Unit Size Payment Standard Assistance Unit Size Payment Standard
1 $221 6 $532
2 280 7 616
3 345 8 681
4 408 9 749
5 469 10 or more 813

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.


Clarifying Information - WAC 388-478-0035

To determine a family's gross earned income, see WAC 388-450-0165.


Clarifying Information - WAC 182-515-1500

The payment standard for TANF, SFA, PWA, ABD cash, and RCA recipients who are in medical institutions or other facilities for more than 90 days is the appropriate CPI amount.  See WAC 388-454-0015.