Basic Food (federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known colloquially as "food stamps") is a federally-funded assistance program that helps people pay for food items. The amount of SNAP benefits you can receive are based on your income, family size, and monthly income (rent, medical bills, utilities). A benefit estimator can be found online through DSHS's online benefit calculator.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is an income-based program that provides cash for Washington state residents who are pregnant and/or responsible for children. TANF families are limited to sixty months of benefits in their lifetime unless they qualify for a time limit extension.
Information on student eligibility for SNAP benefits can be found under the Washington State Legislature's WAC 388-482-0005 "How does being a student of higher education affect my eligibility for the Washington basic food program?" page. A highlighted-and-annotated version of this document, created by a student employee, is available above.
Legal immigrants that are ineligible for SNAP benefits can apply for State Food Assistance Program (FAP) benefits.
Be sure to have handy:
On-campus students do not pay for rent or utilities unless stated otherwise. When in doubt, contact RAD at email@example.com (360) 867-6132.
The easiest and quickest way to apply for benefits is through washingtonconnection.org, although you can also apply through these methods:
DSHS CSD-Customer Service Center PO Box 11699 Tacoma, WA 98411-6699
The closest office to The Evergreen State College, as well as the only DSHS office in Thurston County, is the Olympia Community Services Office, located at 6860 Capitol Blvd SE Tumwater, WA 98501. Other DSHS locations can be found at www.dshs.wa.gov.
The .pdf Application for Cash and/or Food Benefits is available in this webpage's attached files, as well as available in several languages:
The Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) Referral program provides access to essential needs items and potential rental assistance for low-income individuals who are unable to work for at least 90 days due to a physical and/or mental incapacity.
While DSHS/CSD determines eligibility for the referral to the HEN program, actual eligibility for rental assistance and essential needs items is determined by the Department of Commerce through a network of homeless and homeless prevention service providers.
HEN benefits may include:
You are ineligible for HEN if you:
You would apply for HEN benefits the same way you apply for SNAP and/or TANF benefits.
The quickest way to apply for Medicaid is through wahealthplanfinder.org, but you can fill out a printed application (attached above) and either fax it to 1-855-867-4467 or mail it to
Washington Healthplanfinder PO Box 946 Olympia, Washington, 98507
To speak with Washington Healthplanfinder bilingual staff, request materials be translated, written materials in other formats (audio, braille, etc.,) or an interpreter for free in your preferred language, call their Customer Support Center line at 1-855-923-4633.
This application will deduce whether you qualify for:
• Free or low-cost health care coverage from Washington Apple Health
(Medicaid), including the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
• A tax credit that can help you pay your health care premiums for a
Qualified Health Plan
• Full-cost private Qualified Health Plan and Qualified Dental Plan
Unlike applying for SNAP, college students are eligible for Medicaid (and other listed healthcare coverages) without any requirements or stipulations. A single person with a monthly income of $1,468 or less is currently eligible. There is no minimum income requirement for single pregnant women.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) is a federally funded program that provides rental assistance to low-income households based on their income. The assistance is paid directly to the landlord once a lease agreement has been signed and the assisted unit has been inspected and approved. Public housing is limited to low-income families and individuals. A local Housing Authority determines your eligibility based on:
From the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development:
The housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.
The participant is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects. Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies(PHAs). The PHAs receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program.
If you require immediate housing: please contact Thurston County's emergency shelter hotline at 1-844-628-7343 (for Tacoma/Pierce County, contact 2-1-1), or your local Public Housing Authority. In most areas, you may have to wait 1-5 years for a housing voucher or public housing placement, and in certain jurisdictions, waitlists are so full that a Public Housing Authority (PHA) may stop accepting applications and have windows where applications are accepted. Some PHAs have long waiting lists, so you may want to apply at more than one PHA. You can apply to any PHA regardless of county or city.