State has emergency cash available, based on income

Beginning this week, Washington residents can once again apply through the state Department of Social and Health Services for emergency cash assistance to help meet their immediate needs. The department announced on Monday that it received additional funding and a new order from Gov. Inslee to reinstate this temporary program to help Washingtonians through financial hardship.

The governor’s April 15 proclamation enables the state to offer Disaster Cash Assistance Program (DCAP) benefits to people who are not eligible for other cash assistance programs. The assistance is available to all Washington families and people without children who meet the income and resource limits of the program.

The benefit amount depends on household size, income, and need, and ranges from a maximum of $363 for a single person to a maximum of $1,121 for a household of eight or more people. The program can cover expenses like housing or shelter costs, utilities, clothing, minor medical care, household supplies, and transportation costs for work. It can also help with food for those not otherwise eligible for ongoing food benefits.

“Disaster cash assistance is for people who are not eligible for the other programs. It is a very limited amount of money,” said Norah West, Assistant Director of DSHS’ Office of Communications, Economic Services Administration. She said people can apply online at and then call the Customer Service Contact Center at 877–501–2233 to complete the required interview. She said they can also call 877–501–2233 first, to complete the entire application process over the phone. The Washington Connection website is a single point of entry for many services from the state, and the application process asks far more questions than are required for this program. West encouraged people to call if they only seek information about this program because the very simple process can look much more complicated online.

West added, the program is, “typically is only available once in a 12 month period, but because of COVID lasting as long as it has, they’ve made it available on a month-to-month basis.” She adds that families seeking support may want to spend more time on that website, because there may be other assistance programs that are more beneficial.

Once approved for the Disaster Cash Assistance Program, people will receive their DCAP benefits on an existing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, or a new EBT card will be sent via U.S. mail.

“We’re seeing some progress toward combating the COVID-19 pandemic with vaccines becoming available to all Washingtonians and additional funding from Congress to reinforce our economy,” explained Babs Roberts, director of DSHS’ Community Services Division. “But we know people are still struggling every day to meet their immediate needs like costs for shelter and utilities, and even clothing and transportation costs for work. Reinstating DCAP is another positive step to help Washingtonians move beyond the pandemic.”

This cash assistance is available to Washington residents regardless of citizenship status and does not require applicants to provide a Social Security number. Substitute House Bill 1151 states that people who have received DCAP benefits previously and are still in need may reapply each month the program is active.

Due to much higher than normal call volumes, the department asks that people call before 11 a.m. and to keep in mind that the busiest call times are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Customer Service Contact Center is open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.