Basic Food2024-06-20T18:25:27+00:00

Basic Food is Washington’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Basic Food provides monthly benefits to supplement grocery money while promoting healthy eating and reducing food insecurity. Benefits are automatically loaded onto an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card bi-monthly. EBT cards can be used to buy food at participating grocery stores. Each year the Basic Food program is allotted a certain amount of money based on the number of eligible households, so the program is accessible to everyone who qualifies.

What is Basic Food?
Who Qualifies?
How to Apply
Other Benefits & FAQs

Our Basic Food Program

United General District 304 has coordinators qualified to pre-screen applicants as well as assist clients with their application process. We participate in community events and provide free education and information throughout Skagit County. Basic Food Program education and assistance are one of the many ways that United General District 304 helps community members access the nutrition, education, and support that is available to them.

Would you like more information or assistance with your application? Complete this form or call 360-856-2549.

Beginning in June, people with Basic Food benefits can get additional help with grocery bills through a new program! SUN Bucks provides $120 per eligible child in addition to any Basic Food benefits currently received. If your family is enrolled in programs like SNAP, TANF, or FDPIR, your school-age children will automatically be enrolled to receive SUN Bucks. And, if your child is enrolled in free or reduced-price school meals, they will be signed up automatically! Click here for more information.

Find out more!

Contact Margo Heffron

Phone: 360-854-7179

Para Español

Contacto Anais Sanchez
Correo electrónico:
Teléfono: 360-854-7168

Who Qualifies for Basic Food?

How do I know if I qualify?

You may be eligible to receive Basic Food Program benefits if you:

  • Live in Washington State and
  • You are a US Citizen or Documented Immigrant and
  • Meet the income guidelines shown in this chart

Estimate your monthly Basic Food benefits here.

View the maximum and average monthly benefit amount per household size here.

If your monthly income is at or below what is listed for your family size, you may qualify for Basic Food! Takes into account living expenses and savings.

How to Apply

  • For assistance completing an application, complete this form or call (360) 856-2549. To apply on your own, click here.
  • Once you have completed an application, you will need to schedule an interview. You can complete this over the phone or in office with DSHS.
  • Bring your social security number, proof of identity, and proof of income and living expenses for your household. DSHS can help you get this proof if needed.

The USDA is an equal opportunity employer and provider.

Did you know…

22% of Skagit County households qualify for Basic Food Assistance.

Other Benefits & FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I apply for Basic Food?2023-05-24T17:25:41+00:00

We can help you apply for Basic Food over the phone! Just give us a call at (360) 856-2549.  If you prefer, you can complete this Basic Food application assistance appointment form to make an appointment for us to call you.

I speak a different language – can you help me?2023-05-24T17:27:02+00:00

Currently, we have Spanish-speaking staff to assist with applications. The application is available in Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, Laotian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese on this DSHS webpage.

It seems like I should be eligible but I’m not. Why am I not eligible?2023-05-24T17:28:37+00:00

You may be eligible if you live in Washington State, have gross income below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (see the income chart in the “Who Qualifies for Basic Food” section), and meet citizenship or alien status requirements.

I’m undocumented or a non-citizen, am I eligible?2023-05-24T02:56:04+00:00

Undocumented immigrants and people on business, tourist, or student visas are not eligible for Basic Food. If you have children born in the U.S., they are eligible for Basic Food benefits.

I’m homeless, am I eligible?2023-05-24T02:56:59+00:00

If you don’t have a permanent address, you may still qualify for Basic Food. You can use the address of an authorized representative as a place to receive mail. If you are staying at a shelter, you can still receive Basic Food even if the shelter provides meals. If you are under 18, homeless, and do not live with your parents or guardian, you can still receive Basic Food.

I’m a student, am I eligible?2023-05-24T17:30:27+00:00

Any adult who is enrolled and taking at least six credits (half time) in an institution of higher education is ineligible to receive Basic Food unless they meet one of the exemptions (some listed below):

  • Are under 18 or over 50 years of age
  • Are employed and working at least 80 hours each month or average 20 hours per week.
  • Are self-employed and working an average of 20 hours each week and earn an amount at least equal to federal minimum wage.
  • Are responsible for at least half of the care for a dependent

Click for more information about student status.

What is considered a household?2023-05-24T03:00:02+00:00

Your household size is the number of people you share groceries, cook with, and eat meals together. If you live with housemates, but shop and prepare your meals separately, your housemates are not included in your Basic Food benefits. You should list them on your application, but check the box that says “exclude from benefits.”

What do I need before I start the application process?2023-05-24T03:01:30+00:00

For the application you need:

  • Your social security number
  • Monthly income information for all working individuals in your household
  • Employment information for all working individuals in your household
  • Monthly housing expenses (rent, mortgage, utilities, car loan payments, medical costs)

During your DSHS interview you’ll need to provide proof of identity which could be any of the following:

  • Driver’s License or State ID
  • Work or school ID
  • Birth certificate
  • Voter registration card
  • Health benefit card
  • A pay stub

If you have none of these things, a DSHS worker can call your employer or a shelter worker.

You’ll also need proof of income (if any) such as a pay stub or a written letter from your employer. If over the phone, the DSHS work may call your employer to verify your income.

Do I have to apply with you over the phone?2023-05-24T17:34:12+00:00

No, there are several different ways to apply:

  • The fastest way is to apply online at If you call us, this is where we submit your application for you.
  • You can also mail in a paper application form to: DSHS Customer Service Center PO Box 11699 Tacoma, WA 98411-6699. Click to access the paper application forms. 
  • You can go in-person to any DSHS Community Service Office. Click to find DSHS office locations.
  • You can call DSHS directly: 877-501-2233. Call line is open 8am-3pm, Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays.

After submitting an application, DSHS also requires an eligibility interview by phone or in person to verify the info on your application.

If I can do this myself, why am I calling you?2023-05-24T03:03:01+00:00

Firstly, our friendly, non-judgmental staff will work with you and your schedule to fill out the application over the phone. If you get disconnected or need to reschedule, we will accommodate and adjust. We will pre-screen you to determine if you are eligible before we start the application process, which can save you time and energy. We’ll also take the time to answer any questions you may have while we work through the application. Lastly, we can get you information on other programs you may qualify for such as WIC or our Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program.

I’ve applied, now what?2023-05-24T03:03:41+00:00

After submitting an application, DSHS requires an eligibility interview by phone or in person to verify the info on your application. During the interview, DSHS will:

  • Explain program rules
  • Ask you questions about the information on your application
  • Ask you for proof of your identity and family income
  • Give you a copy of your rights and responsibilities
  • Explain the purpose, appropriate use, and penalties of misuse of the Basic Food program
  • Answer questions
Am I eligible for expedited service?2023-05-24T03:04:47+00:00

Generally, Basic Food Applications are processed within 30 days. Depending on circumstances, some households may be eligible to receive basic food benefits within seven calendar days of DSHS receiving your application. Some conditions where you may qualify for expedited service:

  • If you have gross monthly income under $150 and have available liquid resources (cash, bank accounts, etc.) of $100 or less
  • If you are a migrant or seasonal farm worker household and have available liquid resources of $100 or less
I’m stuck on hold with DSHS – how do I get through?2023-05-24T17:36:51+00:00

Unfortunately, due to staffing shortages at DSHS, it has been difficult for applicants to get through to DSHS and the wait times on the phone have been long. These tips can help you secure your interview faster:

  • Call in the morning right when they open at 8 a.m.
  • Avoid calling on Mondays
  • Avoid calling the day after a holiday
  • Avoid calling on the first and last week of each month
  • If you are able, try going in person to your local community services office, locations here.
When will my benefits start?2023-05-24T03:05:56+00:00

If you qualify, your benefits start from the date your application is received.

How long do I receive my benefits? My income changed, what do I need to do?2023-05-24T03:06:32+00:00

You’ll receive benefits if your household is eligible based on your income. Basic Food benefits are certified for up to 12 months. Basic Food households must report when their income increases to over 130% of the federal poverty level. Households do not have to report any other income changes until the mid-certification review (6 months) or eligibility review (12 months). Households must also report any substantial lottery or gambling win. Report changes by the 10th of the following month after the change occurs. Income changes may reduce the Basic Food benefits you receive or disqualify you from benefits if you make over a certain amount.

What happens if I forget to report a change in income?2023-05-24T03:07:24+00:00

If your income goes over the eligibility level, and you forget to report it for a couple of months, you may owe DSHS money back for the benefits you used that you were not eligible for. To avoid this, follow the rules and report any income changes by the 10th of the following month.

How much $ will I receive?2023-05-24T03:08:11+00:00

The amount of Basic Food you can receive is based on how many people are in your household, your countable income, and monthly living expenses such as housing, utilities, child support, and medical costs. Maximum benefits are:

Household Size Maximum Benefit
1 $281
2 $516
3 $740
4 $939
5 $1,116


What can I buy with EBT?2023-05-24T03:09:47+00:00

Most grocery items such as fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy, breads, cereals, snack foods, dry and canned goods, and non-alcoholic beverages are available to buy with your Basic Food benefits. You can even buy seeds and plants that will produce food.

You CANNOT buy: alcohol, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, supplements, live animals, hot foods, heated food, or cold prepared foods (deli), pet foods, cleaning supplies, paper products, hygiene items, and cosmetics.

I’m having trouble using my EBT card.2023-05-24T17:47:24+00:00

There is a comprehensive brochure with instructions and FAQs on using your EBT card on the DSHS forms page. You’ll find the brochure near the bottom of the page under Pamphlets. It is also known as Form 22-310.

Where can I spend my EBT?2023-05-24T03:11:26+00:00

At participating stores across the country and participating farmer’s markets and farm stands. If you aren’t sure, ask a store employee or manager if they accept EBT cards.

How do I use my EBT at Farmer’s Markets or for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)? What is SNAP Market Match?2023-05-24T17:54:44+00:00

At more than 100 participating farmers markets and farm stands, customers who use Basic Food/EBT can withdraw EBT funds to use as well as receive SNAP market match to stretch their food budget to buy more fruits and vegetables.

Info booths will have an EBT card reader. You’ll specify the amount of Basic Food you want to withdraw, they will then give you EBT tokens for that amount plus SNAP market match bucks up to the maximum daily amount.

EBT tokens can be used for fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, herbs, seeds and plants that produce food, breads, cereals, dairy products, meat, eggs, and fish. Dried, canned, or frozen goods.

SNAP Market Match “dollars” can be redeemed for: fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, herbs, and seeds and plants that produce food.

Click for more info on SNAP Market Match.

Some farms accept EBT for their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs. Locally, Viva Farms and Long Hearing Farm are among those that accept Basic Food benefits and offer discounts for Basic Food customers.

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