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Washington’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known simply as Washington’s Basic Food, provides food assistance to help low-income families purchase groceries.
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Basic food benefits are paid by the Washington State Department of Social Health on a staggered schedule during the first 20 days of the month, depending on the date you applied for benefits and the date your benefits were approved. Washington Basic Food benefits are paid to Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. January payments include a 12.5% cost of living adjustment approved for 2023.
Eligibility for basic food benefits depends on family size and income. To check your eligibility, you can try the Washington DSHS online benefit estimator tool. You can apply for basic food assistance online through the Washington Connection portal, by calling 877-501-2233, or at your local Community Services office.
Washington has another program called the Food Assistance Program for Legal Immigrants who are not eligible for basic food because of their immigration status. Depending on the citizenship or alien status of each person in the household, the household can receive both her FAP and basic food benefits, according to the Washington DSHS.
Washington Basic Food benefits come with additional perks beyond food purchases, such as discounts on certain products and services. For example, as GOBankingRates previously reported, Basic Food recipients can sign up for an Amazon Prime EBT discounted subscription for $6.99 per month. EBT cards can also be used for free or discounted admission to hundreds of museums, aquariums and zoos nationwide. Free or low-cost landline or cell phone service is also available through the Federal Lifeline Program.
Washington’s Basic Food deposit schedule is staggered for the first 20 days of the month. The date you receive benefits depends on the date you applied for benefits and the date your benefits were approved. According to the state of Washington, once your basic food application is approved, your eligibility system automatically assigns you days to receive benefits. The date will be stated on the authorization letter.
Here is the Washington EBT card deposit schedule for January 2023:
|Filing date:||Application confirmation period:||Specified issue date:|
|1st to 15th place||1st to 15th place||1st to 10th place|
|1st to 15th place||16th to 31st||11th to 20th|
|16th to 22nd||any date||1st to 10th place|
|23rd to 31st||any date||11th to 20th|
Basic Food EBT cards are accepted at most grocery stores and some online retailers. You can also use your Washington EBT card to purchase fresh produce at participating farmers markets. USDA’s Food Nutrition Service provides a monthly list of market names and locations nationwide where basic food benefits are currently permitted.
You can use your SNAP EBT card to purchase:
- fruits and vegetables
- meat, poultry, fish
- dairy products
- bread and cereal
- Snack food and non-alcoholic beverages
- Seeds or plants that produce food for domestic consumption
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However, the USDA has restrictions on how SNAP benefits can be used. Products that cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits include alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, supplements, live animals, pet food, cleaning products, paper products and cosmetics. You also cannot purchase hot prepared food or meals.
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