cash programs

Cash Assistance Programs

The Department of Social and Health Services offers programs to help Washington State residents in need. Below is information about the TANF program that provides temporary cash and medical assistance.

Use our Benefit Finder to see if you qualify and apply online.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a program of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) that provides cash grants and medical coverage for Washington State residents who are responsible for the care of children under the age of 18 or who are pregnant and meet the eligibility criteria. Households with children between the ages of 18-21 may continue to be eligible for cash assistance if the children are in high school or enrolled into a GED program.

Eligibility is based on gross monthly income (before taxes), family size, resources, and citizenship status. Some TANF families are limited to sixty months of benefits in their lifetime.

Gross monthly income – Gross monthly income is the amount of money you make before any taxes are deducted from your paycheck. If your income is from a job, you can divide the amount you make in half and compare that to the income chart below to see if your family may be eligible.

For example, if you make $1000 a month before taxes are taken out, you would use $500 to compare to the income chart below ($1000 divided by 2 = $500). If your income is from another source such as unemployment, Social Security, etc,. then you must take the full amount (dollar for dollar) and compare to the income chart below.

Resources – a resource is anything you own or are buying that can be sold, traded, or converted into cash or money. Resources do not include personal property such as the home you live in, clothing and/or furniture. Examples of resources include: cash, savings account, checking account, bonds, and 401K. To be eligible for TANF your resources cannot be more than: $5000 in value for one vehicle, $3000 in a savings account, $1000 total countable resources (checking, cash, or stock/bonds).

Income Guidelines for TANF Program Eligibility

Please note income limits are lower for households with no shelter costs (such as mortgage or rent payments, utilities, and property taxes).

Income Guidelines (effective 4/1/2017)
Family Members Monthly Income
1 person $543
2 $731
3 $919
4 $1,107
5 $1,295
6 $1,483
7 $1,671
8 $1,859