Eligibility for Washington Food Stamps

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Washington requirements for food stamps, or Basic Food as it is called in the state, are enforced by the Economic Services Administration (ESA). In addition to determining food stamps requirements in WA, the ESA also distributes benefits through the federally known Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Eligibility for food stamps varies from state to state, so applicants must become familiar with the Washington State process prior to requesting benefits from the ESA. How to qualify for food stamps is based on income, citizenship, residency and work requirements. In addition, SNAP qualifications require applicants to submit personal information and official documentation. To learn more about the process to qualify for food stamps benefits in Washington, review the below topics.

Washington Income Requirements for SNAP Benefits

Financial requirements for food stamps in Washington are of utmost importance, as the program was designed to help low-income individuals and families obtain monetary assistance to purchase food and groceries. To understand the income-based SNAP eligibility requirements, applicants should first examine the current Federal Poverty Level (FPL) according to their household sizes. FPLs are the basis for determining how to qualify for food stamp assistance in WA, and income limits rise as households grow in size.

In addition to income, SNAP eligibility in Washington factors in your countable resources. There are resource limits in place when it comes to financially qualifying for SNAP, but the limit that applies to households with elderly or disabled people is higher than the one that does not accommodate such family members. Some resources that impact your SNAP eligibility in Washington include:

  • Cash
  • Money in checking and savings accounts
  • Certificates of deposit and money market accounts
  • Stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities
  • Trusts or trust accounts

Once resources and income are determined, to further examine if you qualify for SNAP benefits, you can factor in allowable deductions. This will help you reach your desired FPL threshold if you are not able to do so already. Current deductions that are eligible for WA SNAP include a 20 percent reduction from your gross earned income, dependent care costs, a standard deduction based on household size, medical expenses that total over $35 for disabled or elderly family members and partial shelter costs.

Download our free guide to review more details on the income requirements for food assistance.

Washington Citizenship Requirements for SNAP Benefits

Citizenship-based food stamps requirements in WA mandate all applicants to be certified U.S. citizens and noncitizens that can prove legal presence in the U.S. To qualify for Washington SNAP via citizenship requirements, citizens should prepare certified documents such as birth certificates or valid passports. Noncitizens, on the other hand, can qualify for food stamp assistance in WA if they are lawful immigrants in groups including asylees, refugees, victims of trafficking, lawful permanent residents and others. To learn more about the groups that are eligible for SNAP in Washington, download our guide.

Once citizenship or qualified immigrant status is proven, the next step to gain food stamps eligibility in WA is to prove your state residency. Since Basic Food is a Washington-specific program, to qualify for SNAP assistance, all potential beneficiaries of the state must be able to prove they reside full-time within state borders.

In addition, all applicants of Basic Food must provide their Social Security Numbers (SSNs). To qualify for WA SNAP benefits, every member in the household must submit an individual SSN. Those who do not have SSNs issued to them must apply for these federal ID numbers via the local Social Security Administration, and then provide proof of the filing to the ESA.

Other SNAP Eligibility Requirements You Must Meet in Washington

Additionally, how to qualify for food stamps in WA means meeting the state work requirements. All potential beneficiaries looking to qualify for Washington food stamps must work, if they are fit to do so and are between the 18 and 49 years of age. Those who must meet work requirements for WA SNAP are referred to as Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs). Work eligibility for food stamps requires ABAWD beneficiaries to commit to 20-workhours per week. However, work can be executed beyond monetary compensation such as through an exchange for goods or services (in-kind word) or through volunteering. In addition, the ESA recognizes enrollment into employment training programs or unpaid work programs in order to satisfy these SNAP requirements. Those who are not considered ABAWDs are not required to meet the work mandate in Washington (this includes elderly and disabled household members).

Applicants Who Are Not Eligible for Washington SNAP Benefits

Not every applicant will qualify for food stamps benefits in Washington, regardless of meeting all of the above criteria. In fact, certain groups are never eligible for SNAP benefits in WA and will be rejected from Basic Food if they choose to apply. For example, students do not qualify for SNAP assistance when they are enrolled in secondary educational courses more than halftime (those living in the household will not be counted toward your benefits application). In addition, workers on strike are not eligible for SNAP assistance unless they qualified the day before the strike ensued. Still, those fleeing felony convictions, prosecutions or confinement do not meet the requirements for food stamp assistance in Washington, nor do those who committed benefits fraud in the past.


What Are Food Stamps?

Food Stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a federal- and state-funded program that provides low-income Americans with food assistance benefits. Eligible individuals and families can use their state-issued electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, which are regularly replenished with a set amount of benefits, to purchase approved food items. Learn more about the SNAP program and how you can start receiving benefits here.


Who Is Eligible to Receive Food Stamp Benefits?

Before you can begin obtaining food items with state SNAP benefits, you must apply to the program and prove that you are eligible. All applicants are subject to various requirements established by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. These involve household income limits, resource limits, work requirements and more. To find out if you qualify for SNAP benefits, download our guide today.