You can apply for food stamps in Washington through the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). This service, which is also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is available to low-income families and individuals who meet basic program requirements. When you apply for SNAP, the DSHS will determine whether or not you are eligible.
Note that the date you sign up for food stamps will determine when your benefits start if you are approved. With that in mind, it is in your best interest to apply as soon as you need assistance. Most applications are processed in 30 days or less. Below, learn more about the SNAP benefits application process and discover other important information you should know.
What do you need to apply for food stamps in Washington?
A food stamp application will require you to share various information about your household members. Keep in mind that you must include the required details on each person who qualifies for benefits. Information and documentation you may need to provide includes:
- The name, Social Security number (SSN) and date of birth of each household member.
- Your street address and mailing address, if different.
- Proof of identity.
- Proof of legal immigration status, if applicable.
- Proof of expenses for housing, child care, utilities and other similar costs.
- Information on your income and resources.
- Disability, school enrollment or employment status, if applicable.
If there are people in your household who do not qualify or do not want assistance, you do not have to include them. However, SNAP eligibility is based on income compared to the total number of people in your household. Generally, you have to include the income and resources of everyone who lives with you and shares meals regardless if they qualify for benefits.
With that in mind, your food stamp application form may need to include the income of people who are not eligible for benefits themselves. Learn more about the details you need to provide when you apply for SNAP by reading our free guide.
Applying for Washington Food Stamps Online
You can fill out a food stamp application online by using the Washington Connection portal. It is recommended that you create an account before starting your application. This allows you to log in and return to an unfinished application at a later date and have faster access to other application-related materials. If you do not have an account, you can receive a temporary access code that lets you return to an unfinished application.
To request food stamps online, select the application you want and follow the on-screen prompts to fill out your form. Once complete, your form will be sent to the correct department for review.
Submitting a Washington Food Stamp Application by Mail
It is also possible to apply for food stamps using a paper form instead. This application can be downloaded and printed from the DSHS website. If you do not have access to a printer at home, you may also call the DSHS to have a paper form sent to you in the mail.
The paper food stamp application contains the same information as the online version. Note that the same paper form is used to apply for other benefits as well. If you only want to apply for SNAP, you can fill out the sections just for that program. To apply for multiple benefits, make sure you fill out each relevant section.
Make sure you sign your food stamp application form once you are done. Completed applications can be returned to the DSHS at the following address:
CSD-Customer Service Center
P.O. Box 11699
Tacoma, WA 98411-6699
Applying for SNAP in Person in Washington
To apply for food stamps in person, simply visit a DSHS Community Service Office. These offices can be found in multiple locations throughout the state. Note that office hours and specific policies may vary from one location to the next.
You may either bring a completed food stamp application or pick up a form at the office and fill it out as you wait. Once you are done, submit your form to the DSHS staff.
Checking Your SNAP Application Status in Washington
Before requesting information on your WA food stamp application status, it helps to know that the DSHS may take up to 30 days to process your form. In emergency situations, you may receive a response in as little as seven days.
You can check the status of your SNAP application by logging into your Washington Connection account if you applied online. Alternatively, you may contact the DSHS for information on your application status.
Washington Food Stamp Interview Process
A food stamp phone interview or in-person meeting will be required after you submit an application. A DSHS case worker will call you or contact you by mail to arrange an interview. The purpose of this meeting is to verify all of the information on your application. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions and get clarification on program rules.
During the interview, you may be asked to provide proof of things such as your income, employment and expenses. You can prepare by gathering any necessary documents ahead of time. Learn more about the application and interview process by reading our free guide.
About SNAP Recertification in Washington
Once your food stamp application is approved, you will receive benefits for a certain amount of time. When your benefit period ends, you need to complete a food stamp renewal in order to keep getting assistance in the future. It is possible to renew food stamps online, in person or through the mail.
The Washington SNAP recertification process is similar to submitting your original application. You will need to provide all of your updated information and any new documents that may be required. Note that it is possible that your benefits will go up or down, or be eliminated if your circumstances have changed.
About Appealing a Food Stamps Denial in Washington
You may have your food stamps denied or reduced if your eligibility changes. You have the right to appeal food stamps decisions anytime the DSHS changes your benefit amount. Whenever your benefits change, the DSHS will notify you. The notification you receive will include instructions for requesting an appeal hearing.
Last Updated: February 27, 2023