Rights and Responsibilities
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Rights and Responsibilities

Revised December 31, 2013

Purpose: The department and the clients have a shared responsibility to determine and maintain eligibility for cash, medical or food assistance programs.

WAC 388-472-0005What are my rights and responsibilities?

This category provides information about:
  • The client's rights related to public assistance.
  • The client's responsibilities related to receiving public assistance; and
  • The department's responsibility to the client who applies for or receives public assistance.

WAC 388-472-0005

WAC 388-472-0005

Effective January 1, 2014

WAC 388-472-0005 What are my rights and responsibilities?

For the purposes of this chapter, "we" and "us" refer to the department and "you" refers to the applicant or recipient.

1.    If you apply for or get cash, a referral to the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program, or food assistance benefits you have the right to:

a.    Have your rights and responsibilities explained to you and given to you in writing;

b.    Have us explain the legal use of DSHS benefits to you;

c.    Be treated politely and fairly no matter what your race, color, political beliefs, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability or birthplace;

d.    Request benefits by giving us an application form using any method listed under WAC 388-406-0010. You can ask for and get a receipt when you give us an application or other documents;

e.    Have your application processed as soon as possible. Unless your application is delayed under WAC 388-406-0040, we process your application for benefits within thirty days, except:

              i.        If you are eligible for expedited services under WAC 388-406-0015, you get food assistance within seven days. If we deny you expedited services, you have a right to ask that the decision be reviewed by the department within two working days from the date we denied your request for expedited services;

            ii.        Aged, blind, or disabled (ABD) assistance, or referral to the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program, may take up to forty-five days.    

        f.    Be given at least ten days to give us information needed to determine your eligibility and be given more time if you ask for it. If we do not have the information needed to decide your eligibility, then we may deny your request for benefits;

g.    Have the information you give us kept private. We may share some facts with other agencies for efficient management of federal and state programs;

h.    Ask us not to collect child support (which includes medical support, as defined in WAC 388-14A-1020) if you fear the noncustodial parent may harm you, your children, or the children in your care;

i.      Ask for extra money to help pay for temporary emergency shelter costs, such as an eviction or a utility shutoff, if you get TANF;

j.      Get a written notice, in most cases, at least ten days before we make changes to lower or stop your benefits;

k.    Ask for an administrative hearing if you disagree with a decision we make. You can also ask a supervisor or administrator to review our decision or action without affecting your right to a fair hearing;

l.      Have interpreter or translator services given to you at no cost and without delay;

m.   Refuse to speak to a fraud investigator. You do not have to let an investigator into your home. You may ask the investigator to come back at another time. Such a request will not affect your eligibility for benefits; and

n.    Get help from us to register to vote.

2.    If you get cash or food assistance, you are responsible to:

a.    Tell us if you are experiencing an emergency such as having no money for food, or facing an eviction so we can process your request for benefits as soon as possible;

b.    Report the following expenses so we can decide if you can get more food assistance:

                      i.        Shelter costs;

                    ii.        Child or dependent care costs;

                   iii.        Child support that is legally obligated;

                   iv.        (iv) Medical expenses; and

                    v.        Self-employment expenses.

c.    Report changes as required under WAC 388-418-0005 and 388-418-0007.

d.    Give us the information needed to determine eligibility;

e.    Give us proof of information when needed. If you have trouble getting proof, we help you get the proof or contact other persons or agencies for it;

f.     Cooperate in the collection of child support unless you fear the noncustodial parent may harm you, your children, or the children in your care;

g.    Apply for and get any benefits from other agencies or programs prior to getting cash assistance from us;

h.    Complete reports and reviews when asked;

i.      Look for, get, and keep a job or participate in other activities if required for cash or food assistance;

j.      Cooperate with the quality control review process;

k.    Keep track of your EBT card for cash and food assistance and keep your personal identification number (PIN) secure. If you receive multiple replacement EBT cards, this may trigger an investigation to determine if you are trafficking benefits as described under WAC 388-412-0046 (2)(d); and

l.      Use your cash and food assistance benefits only as allowed under WAC 388-412-0046.

3.    If you are eligible for necessary supplemental accommodation (NSA) services under chapter 388-472 WAC, we help you comply with the requirements of this section.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.


*** As a result of implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this clarifying page may no longer be effective for medical coverage applications received on or after 10/01/2013. Please see the ACA Transition Plan for more information. Clients under 65 years of age who need to apply for medical coverage on or after 10/01/2013 should be referred to Washington Healthplanfinder. Applications for medical coverage for households where all members are 65 years of age and older should be referred to Washington Connection. ***




See NECESSARY SUPPLEMENTAL ACCOMMODATION for rules and procedures related to assisting persons with special needs.

See LETTERS and LEP for rules and procedures for translated written material.

See INTERVIEW REQUIREMENTS and LEP for rules and procedures to obtain translators.


  1. Review form DSHS 14-113(X), Client Rights and Responsibilities with the household at every:
    1. Application; and
    2. Eligibility review or recertification. 
  2. Face to Face Interviews:

When conducting a face-to-face interview, explain the rights and responsibilities to the client and ask them to sign the form to acknowledge that they understand them. Send the document as file only to be scanned into the client’s Electronic Case Record (ECR).  

  1. Phone Interviews:

When conducting phone interviews, explain the rights and responsibilities to the client, send them a copy of form DSHS 14-113, and request them to sign and return the document. 


We are required to provide households a copy of the DSHS 14-113, Client Rights and Responsibilities and request that they sign the document.  Signing the form is not a condition of eligibility.  Do not deny an application for benefits or terminate assistance if the household refuses to sign the form.

  1. When a client applies for or has a review for medical assistance and submits an Application for Benefits, mail a DSHS 14-113(X) and document the action in the ACES narrative.

Modification Date: December 31, 2013