Apply For Washington TANF Benefits

Learn how to apply for Washington TANF. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, called Washington TANF and WorkFirst Program, may help you become self-supportive while receiving monthly cash benefits to meet your everyday needs such as rent, utilities, clothes, transportation, or additional expenses.

Sometimes you may not be eligible to receive TANF for yourself, but a child or children in your household may. The TANF program is administered by the Department of Social and Health Services. In most cases, in order to qualify for TANF you must meet both types of eligibility, categorical and financial.

Additionally, to qualify for TANF there are work requirements. The WA TANF program requires most adults be employed or participate in certain work-related activities, which you will be assigned for a certain number of hours on a weekly basis in order to continue receiving TANF benefits.

The total number of hours needed to fulfill your work activity requirement depends on your family composition. Qualified state residents are required to produce information including household income, age, citizenship and resources.

Only household members who are eligible for Washington TANF can receive welfare benefits. For more information about applying for WA TANF benefits, view the information below. If you still have questions or issues, then contact TANF Washington.

Washington TANF eligibility

Washington State residents who are responsible for the care of children or who are pregnant. Some of the requirements you must meet include:

  • Income and resource requirements
  • Citizenship and alien status requirements

If you are found eligible for the TANF Program, you must:

  • Cooperate with the Division of Child Support
  • If you are a parenting teen, live in an approved living situation
  • Participate in the WorkFirst Program, if required

The WorkFirst Program expects that you will:

  • Complete all requested reviews
  • Participate in all required job search and work preparation activities

The program can also assist you by:

  • Helping you pay for child care expenses through our Child Care Subsidy Program
  • Helping you with job search, including resume writing and job interview skills
  • Providing you opportunities to get training to increase your skills and get a better job

If you are participating in the WorkFirst Program, your case manager will do everything possible to help you succeed. WorkFirst Support Services can help you with some of the expenses of getting and keeping a job, including:

  • Work clothing
  • Transportation
  • Educational expenses
  • Vehicle repair
  • Tools and equipment
  • Relocation expenses

Your case manager can tell you more about Support Services.

Washington TANF income and resource requirements

Your WA TANF benefits are based on your family size and income. A family of three, with no income, would receive a monthly TANF grant of $569. When a household member starts working, they only count half of the earnings against the grant.

If a member of the household starts receiving unemployment or another type of unearned income, they would count the entire amount against the grant. To be eligible for TANF, your family must have resources of $1,000 or less. Examples of resources are things like:

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Stocks, bonds, or mutual funds
  • Vehicle equity over $5,000

Your case manager will help you understand what income and resources they consider and how it will affect your case.

TANF time limitations

As of August 1997, Washington TANF families are limited to sixty months of benefits in their lifetime unless they qualify for a time limit extension.

Apply for Washington TANF

You can apply for WA TANF benefits online by going to Or if you prefer, you can apply in-person at your local Community Services office. To find a location, view a list of Community Service offices near you. To download a copy of the TANF application, click here. If you want to mail in your application, mail it to the following address:

CSD-Customer Service Center
PO Box 11699
Tacoma, WA 98411-6699

If you rather fax your TANF application, then fax it to 888-338-7410. As with all our programs, the only way to know for sure if you are eligible is to apply for TANF Washington.

I was denied TANF benefits. What can I do?

State and local agencies are responsible for establishing the eligibility criteria and procedures that apply in their programs, not the Federal government. If you disagree with a decision regarding welfare benefits, you have the right to file an appeal. For more information about your state's appeals procedures, contact the WA TANF office.