Skip to content Accessibility tools

Changes Seniors Should Know About “Basic Food”


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is called “Basic Food” in Washington state. The program helps low-income people make ends meet by providing monthly benefits to buy food. In August 2016, the State of Washington made changes to the Basic Food program that affect older adults.

Senior households are not exempt from initial application interviews, either when making their initial application or when reapplying after a period without participation in the program. Senior households remain eligible to have their recertification interviews waived. They will now receive an eligibility review form to complete and submit to DSHS.

Basic Food logoAnnually on October 1, Basic Food program recipients see changes to the program standards. This year, those changes caused a drop of between $1–$2 in monthly benefits.

Also, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill that requires DSHS to expand the dates that the client’s Basic Food funds are loaded onto their EBT cards from between the first and the tenth of the month to between the first of the month and the twentieth of the month. These changes will not affect households already receiving Basic Food. New households that enroll after February 1, 2017 will see issuance dates between the first and twentieth day of the month.

You can apply for Basic Food Assistance online or at your local Community Services Office. To apply online, visit To find a Community Services Office near you, click here. You can also contact Community Living Connections for information about this and other beneficial programs for which you may qualify.

Contributor Callista Kennedy is an education specialist with King County Public Health—Access & Outreach. See