Accessing Government Assistance

We all deserve to live healthy, secure, and empowered lives. Find support and assistance for housing, food, healthcare, utilities, and more. Learn if you qualify and how to apply below.

How to Qualify

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) runs many of Washington State’s assistance programs. Learn more about how you can qualify for specific programs and apply for services online or at one of the many Community Services Offices located throughout the state. If you need an interpreter or assistance filling out an application, you can get help at all our offices. 

How to qualify for DSHS services

Apply for services

Find your local Community Service Office

Learn about the Mobile Community Services Office that travels to you if you live in a rural area

Emergency Help

If you need help as soon as possible, there are emergency programs that can provide help right away. Emergencies include situations such as eviction, homelessness, utility shut off, no food, or a medical emergency. You can receive a one-time cash payment to cover rent and utilities through the “Additional Requirements for Emergent Needs (AREN)” and “Diversion Cash Assistance programs.”

Get more information on emergency programs

AREN

Diversion Cash Assistance

Food

Food programs provide monthly funds to help you and your family purchase the foods you need. If you are ineligible for Basic Food, you can apply for the State Food Assistance Program. Women, infants, and children can receive food benefits as well as nutrition education through The Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC).

Basic Food

Use this tool to estimate your monthly Basic Food benefits

State Food Assistance Program

WIC

Housing

Find shelter for today and receive assistance and resources to get permanent housing. Our Housing Assistance Guide shares more in-depth information on shelters, eviction prevention, resources for youth and young adults, and rent assistance. For adults who are unable to work for at least 90 days due to a physical or mental health issue, the Housing Essential Needs program provides access to rent and utilities assistance, personal and hygiene items, cleaning supplies, and transportation.

Housing Assistance Guide

Housing Essential Needs (HEN) Program provides household essentials and rent assistance

Local HEN providers

Cash

Sometimes you need a little bit of extra money to pay your bills. Cash assistance is available for families, pregnant women, refugees, seniors, and blind or disabled individuals who qualify.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Refugee Cash Assistance

Aged, Blind, or Disabled Cash Assistance Program

Healthcare

Apple Health is Washington State’s Medicaid and offers free or low-cost health insurance for adults and kids. Adults 65 and older, blind, or disabled can receive assistance with Medicare premiums and medical expenses. The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides low-cost care for children whose families don’t qualify for Medicaid.

Apple Health

Apple Health for Kids

The Children’s Health Insurance Program

Aged, Blind, or Disabled Program

Medicare Savings Program

Employment

Having steady employment can bring security and peace of mind. WorkSource is a statewide partnership that provides training and help so you can find your next great job. Get information about what jobs are in demand, learn about different jobs, and get assistance throughout the job search process from resume writing to interviewing skills. WorkFirst is a program that helps parents get to work by offering help with childcare, transportation, and work appropriate clothing.

WorkSource Washington

Find a career workshop or hiring event

Washington WorkFirst

Apply for unemployment benefits

Services for Pregnant Individuals

Find the support and help you need to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. Receive low-cost health insurance, cash assistance, grocery benefits, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support.

Apple Health for pregnant individuals

Pregnant Women Assistance Program provides a monthly cash grant for low-income individuals

First Steps helps with prenatal and post-partum care, delivery, and medical care for newborns

WIC offers nutrition information, breastfeeding support, money for healthy foods, and screenings

Services for Children

Parents and guardians can get financial assistance for childcare, low-cost or free health insurance for kids through Apple Health, and free early learning and preschool programs.

Child Care Subsidy Programs

Apple Health for Kids

Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program & Head Start

Phone and Internet

Lifeline is a federal program that helps low-income families with communication services. Qualifying families receive a discount on monthly telephone and broadband internet services.

Lifeline Telephone Assistance Program