Food Stamps Schedule: Washington State Basic Food Benefits in December and Where To Get SNAP Discounts

Mother and her toddler daughter buying organic tomatoes at the grocery store stock photo
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Washington’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known simply as Basic Food in Washington, provides food assistance to low-income families to help them buy groceries. Basic Food benefits are paid out by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) on a staggered schedule over the first 20 days of the month depending on the date you applied for benefits and the date that your benefits were approved.

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Washington Basic Food benefits are paid out to Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards which works just like a debit card. The Basic Food EBT card can be used in most grocery stores and some participating farmers’ markets. Your benefits can also be used online. You can check here for approved online retailers.

You can use your SNAP EBT card to purchase:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Breads and cereals
  • Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat
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However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture does have restrictions on how you can use your SNAP benefits. Among the items you can’t buy with SNAP benefits are alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, supplements, live animals, pet foods, cleaning supplies, paper products and cosmetics. You also cannot purchase hot and prepared food or meals.

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Washington has another program for legal immigrants who do not qualify for Basic Food due to their immigration status called Food Assistance Program (FAP). According to the Washington DSHS, households can receive both FAP and Basic Food benefits depending on the citizenship or alien status of each person in the home.

How To Score EBT Discounts

Basic Food benefits also come with other perks. Here are a few additional bargains you can get with your Washington EBT card:

  • Amazon Prime discount: Recipients of Washington Basic Food and EBT Cash benefits (or Medicaid benefits) can qualify to save 50% off their Prime membership. To see if you qualify, visit amazon.com/prime/qualify.
  • Museum discounts: Those receiving Basic Food benefits can get free or reduced admission to hundreds of museums and arts groups throughout the U.S., including through the Museums for All program.
  • Farmers’ markets: You can also use your Washington EBT card at participating farmers’ markets to purchase fresh produce. The USDA’s Food Nutrition Service (FNS) provides a monthly list of the names and locations of markets across the country that are currently authorized to accept Basic Food benefits.
  • Internet and phone: Through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), eligible Basic Food recipients could receive up to a $30 per month discount on internet service and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Basic Food households may also qualify for free or low-cost landline or cell phone service through the Federal Lifeline Program. Consult with your service provider for more information.
  • Home energy assistance: Basic Food recipients could qualify for energy assistance through Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP).
Make Your Money Work for You

For more information on financial assistance for Basic Food households, check the Reduced Cost Services Guide, which gives a variety of products and services available in or near Washington State that are offered at reduced cost for low-income households.

You can apply for Washington’s Basic Food program online, by phone (877-501-2233) or at your local Community Services Office.

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Washington’s Basic Food deposit schedule is staggered over the first 20 days of the month. The date you receive your benefits depends on the date you applied for benefits and the date that your benefits were approved. According to Washington State, the eligibility system will automatically assign the day you get your benefits when your Basic Food application is approved, which will be listed on your approval letter. Here is the Washington EBT card deposit schedule for December 2022:

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Application Date:Application Finalized Period:Assigned Issuance Date:
1st through 15th1st through 15th1st through 10th
1st through 15th16th through 31st11th through 20th
16th through 22ndany date1st through 10th
23rd through 31stany date11th through 20th
Source: Washington State DSHS

Basic Food recipients will get a financial boost thanks to the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for fiscal year 2023. The COLA kicked in starting Oct. 1, 2022, and will hike the maximum monthly benefit by 12.5%.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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