Interview Requirements

Revised January 31, 2024


This section explains when someone must have an interview for benefits, when we schedule an interview, and when Basic Food household's can have an authorized representative complete the required interview on the household's behalf.

WAC 388-452-0005  Do I have to be interviewed in order to get cash and Basic Food benefits?

WAC 388-452-0010 What does the family violence option mean for TANF/SFA recipients? 

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-452-0005

  1. When we require interviews
    1. For cash assistance and Basic Food, we must interview a person at:
      1. Application; and
      2. Eligibility review or recertification, if not interviewed in the last twelve months, unless they meet the Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP) see #2.b.

Kay and her two kids receive Basic Food and medical benefits. They are certified through November. In October, she loses her job and applies for TANF benefits. Kay will need an interview for TANF and to recertify her Basic Food benefits.

  1. When we don't require interviews:
    1. Application for medical assistance only. We don't require an interview if someone applies for medical assistance only.

Mary applies for cash, food, and classic medical and is scheduled for an interview. Later, Mary withdraws her request for cash and food and only wants medical. The eligibility worker denies the request for food and cash based on her request and processes the application for medical.

      b. Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP). Basic Food assistance units meeting ESAP criteria don't need to be interviewed at Basic Food Eligibility Review: See Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP)


Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-452-0005

  1. Interpreter Services 
    If someone has Limited English Proficiency, arrange for interpreter services as allowed under Chapter 388-271 WAC. See: Limited English Proficiency (LEP).
  2. Client Demographics on Race/Ethnicity

Inform clients that we must collect racial and ethnic information for statistical reporting requirements and that the information has no impact on eligibility. 

Ask clients to self-identify their racial and ethnic group.

If the client chooses not to identify a race / ethnic group, record this information in the demographics as "unreported - 000" for Spanish Origin or "unreported - 999" for Race.  This is required under federal regulations. 

Allow the household to update this information by self-identifying if they choose to do so.

      3. Referrals

Based on the household’s circumstances, make referrals to the appropriate resource or specialists including:

​      4. TANF Family Violence Screening

Complete screenings for family violence on TANF households as described below:

NOTE: See WAC 388-452-0010 for additional information about Family Violence
  1. Review the application or eligibility review form to determine if the person claims "good cause" for not helping the Division of Child Support (DCS) establish paternity and collect child support. This may be the first sign that family violence is an issue.
  2. Review the Family Violence Option with the individual.
  3. Explain WorkFirst work activities and eligibility requirements.
  4. Tell the individual about cooperation and referrals, including the right to ask for a referral at any time while receiving benefits.
  5. After the individual understands the Family Violence Option, screen the individual for family violence using the "Family Violence Screening/Evaluation" in eJAS.
  6. Tell the individual that they only need to answer "yes" or "no" to each question. The individual does not have to explain their answers.
  7. If the individual answers "no" to any of the questions, determine an appropriate work activity.
  8. If the individual answers "yes" to any of the questions, provide them with referral information to local resources and determine an appropriate WorkFirst approved activity. Referrals may include one or more of the following:
    1. Shelters for battered individuals or families;
    2. Medical services;
    3. Family and domestic violence hot lines;
    4. Emergency help for individuals or families fleeing family violence;
    5. Legal counseling and advocacy, including initiation of legal proceedings;
    6. Mental health care, counseling and support groups;
    7. Other available services.


Clarifying Information - WAC 388-452-0010 

Applies only to persons who receive TANF cash aid.

  1. Additional requirements for persons fleeing domestic abuse: Additional requirements may be available for persons currently receiving TANF or Refugee Cash Assistance fleeing domestic abuse. See EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE for rules and procedures.
  2. Family violence may be a barrier for work: Family violence victims face several hurdles in successfully moving from welfare to work because:
    1. The physical and emotional effects of past or present abuse may hinder job performance or work search.
    2. The abuser may try to sabotage the victims'; education, training and employment to keep them dependent upon the abuser.
    3. The abuser may threaten the safety of the victim's children or family members.
    4. The demands of court intervention, criminal prosecution, safety planning, physical and mental recovery, or counseling may interfere with work, education or training.
    5. The victim may need to move or disrupt work to escape a violent living arrangement.
  3. Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP): Since the degree of family violence varies greatly, the intent of this section is to help the worker determine an IRP. The following levels may help to determine whether or not a deferral and/or waiver is necessary:
    1. Level 1 - This group identifies victims of family violence who do not want or need any referrals or deferrals and/or waivers from work requirements.
    2. Level 2 - This group identifies victims of family violence who want supportive services and/or referrals, but do not need deferrals and/or waivers from work requirements.
    3. Level 3 - This group identifies victims of family violence who need referrals to local resources and deferrals and/or waivers to gain stability before actively seeking employment.

See the WorkFirst  Handbook for more information on participation activities for family violence victims.

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-452-0010

  1. Screen all persons approved for TANF at the initial application interview and each eligibility review for circumstances of family violence.
  2. Provide referral information to individuals in need of counseling and support services.
  3. Delay work search activities when participation would:
    1. Make it more difficult for the individual to escape family violence.
    2. Penalize individuals who have been or are at risk of becoming victims of family violence, or who are at further risk of abuse.
  4. You may waive the following:
    1. Time limits on receipt of TANF, after the individual has received TANF for 52 months.
    2. Paternity and child support cooperation requirements.
    3. Other WorkFirst requirements that unfairly penalize victims or make it more difficult to escape family violence.
  5. Keep information about victims of family violence confidential as required by RCW 74.04.060.

    Exception: You must report incidents of child abuse or neglect to the proper law enforcement agency. This includes child rape, child molestation and sexual misconduct with a minor. RCW 26.44.030(4) provides these guidelines.

  6. Provide information about the Family Violence Option, both orally and in writing to all TANF individuals. Case Managers will provide the client with a copy of the Open the Door brochure at the initial application interview and at each eligibility review. The brochure tells the client about the Family Violence Option and how we can help.
  7. Accept allegations of family violence by a victim as enough evidence to substantiate the claim of violence. Other evidence of family violence may include any of the following sources:
    1. Police, government agency, or court records.
    2. Documentation from a source from which the victim has sought aid in dealing with family violence.
    3. Statement from any other individual with knowledge of the circumstances that provide the basis for the claim.
    4. Physical evidence of family violence.
    5. Other evidence that may help identify a victim of family violence.
  8. Show sensitivity in handling situations involving a victim or potential victim of family violence.
  9. Provide an environment in which the individual can disclose family violence. This includes interviewing the individual alone whenever possible.

ACES Procedures

There are two procedures addressed in this section:

  • See Interview for actions taken during the interview; and
  • See Scheduling for scheduling in ACES.