Authorized Representative - Food Assistance

Revised August 6, 2020


This section explains authorized representative rules specific for Basic Food and describes when an authorized representative is required for someone in a treatment center or group home.

WAC 388-460-0005 Can I choose someone to apply for Basic Food for my assistance unit?

WAC 388-460-0010 Do I have an authorized representative for Basic Food if I live in a treatment center or group home?

WAC 388-460-0015 Who will the department not allow as an authorized representative for Basic Food?

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-460-0005

  1. How clients designate an authorized representative:
    A client can designate an authorized representative by completing the appropriate section on the DSHS 14-001 Application for Benefits, DSHS 14-078 Eligibility Review, Washington Connection online application, or by completing a DSHS 14-532 Authorized Representative form.
  2. Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers:
    If a client receives food assistance in a qualified drug and alcohol treatment center, the treatment center must be the authorized representative.
  3. DSHS PBS Staff as Authorized Representatives for Basic Food:
    DSHS Public Benefit Specialist (PBS) staff may not act as an authorized representative or Alternate Card Holder for a household’s Basic Food benefits.
    1. Staff having access to change benefits due to their position and acting on behalf of the household is a direct conflict of interest.
  4. Verification:
    The identity of an authorized representative is a mandatory verification at application. See Verification Charts.
  5. Alternative Card Holders:
    With the exception of a FNS certified drug and alcohol treatment center or group home, an authorized representative does not receive a Quest card or have the ability to access the AU's benefits. If a client needs someone outside of their AU to access the benefits, see information on Alternate Card Holders in When and How Benefits are Delivered.
  6. Individuals who have Power of Attorney for a client:
    1. If an individual has Power of Attorney for a client, the person can be the client's authorized representative without the client having to specifically designate them as the authorized representative.
    2. If an individual has limited Power of Attorney, the Power of Attorney document must specifically give the person authority to act on the client's behalf for managing financial matters. If the document doesn't give the person this authority, the client must name the person as their authorized representative if they want them to act on their behalf.

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-460-0005

Authorized Representatives on Multiple Accounts:

ACES does not monitor or create reports on individuals who are authorized representatives for multiple cases. If you learn that a person is an authorized representative for multiple AUs and suspect the representative is misusing the client's benefits, refer the case to the Office of Fraud Accountability. See FRAUD.

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-460-0010

  1. When a facility acts as an authorized representative for persons in a group home or drug and alcohol treatment center, one person from the facility usually acts on behalf of all the clients in that facility or group home.
  2. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) regulates the facilities in their use of client's Basic Food benefits. For current FNS certified treatment centers, see WAC 388-408-0040 Clarifying Information.
  3. Upon leaving a group home or drug and alcohol treatment center, a Basic Food client may be entitled to a returned allotment of:
    1. One-half of the benefits if they leave a treatment center or group home on or prior to the 15th of the month;
    2. A prorated amount based on the number of days remaining in the month if they leave a treatment center on or after the 16th of the month (NOTE: Not applicable to a group home); or
    3. All of the benefits if the treatment center or group home did not spend any Basic Food benefits on the behalf of the residents who leave.

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-460-0015

Persons currently disqualified for an Intentional Program Violation (IPV) may not be an authorized representative for Basic Food.

  • In most cases, the disqualification of an authorized representative takes place as the result of a fraud investigation. 
  • IPVs from Washington and other states are also captured in USDA Food and Nutrition Service's Electronic Disqualified Recipient Subsystem (eDRS).

The head of household for the food assistance AU may request an administrative hearing when the person they have named as their authorized representative is disqualified from being an authorized representative. See ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS.

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-460-0015

  • When you learn than a current Authorized Representative or one newly selected by the household has an IPV, Use letter 050-01 General Correspondence to inform both the client and the authorized representative of the disqualification action.
  • Inform the client why the authorized representative is disqualified and of the client's right to an administrative hearing.

Additional Information

For additional information on Authorized Representatives, see AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE - FOOD, CASH, AND MEDICAL BENEFIT ISSUANCES.