The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, or DSHS, provides basic support services such as food, cash, and medical help to people living below the current national poverty line throughout Washington, including those in Seattle. When applying for services, the process will take more or less time depending on the severity of your personal need. The best way to ensure that you receive timely assistance, is to connect with DSHS representatives to check on your status, and communicate any changes to your situation that might warrant immediate aid.
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Use the answer phone to check on your case status. The answer phone is an automated service that gives you the basic information as to whether or not your application has been received and approved. The number -- current as of June 2011 -- is 1-877-980-9220.
Call 1-877-501-2233 to speak with someone about your application. In the past, individual Seattle offices had their own staff answer the phones and process calls to social workers, but as of 2010, a unified phone bank serves all of Washington. Calling to speak with a staff member at DSHS will allow you to request specific information about your application, how far it is within the review process, and clarify any information that may be delaying your application's acceptance.
Write a letter regarding your application. Identify yourself and provide the date on which you applied for services. Ask the questions you need to within the body of the letter, and make it clear you are willing to provide any necessary information they require to expedite your application. Make certain to include your address and another form of contact, and copy the letter for your records. Keeping records of your contact with DSHS will help you should you meet with any communication errors in the future. Eligibility questions should be mailed to DSHS Customer Service Center, P.O. Box 11699, Tacoma, WA 98411-9905.
Visit your local office, if your situation grows dire. Should you find yourself in immediate need of food assistance or if you have received an eviction notice, traveling to your local DSHS office will give you the chance to speak with someone in-person. Make sure to check the walk-in hours and location by phone or web. Arrive at least an hour before closing and bring any paperwork that identifies you and proves your current need, as well as the written correspondence between you and DSHS in the last three to six months.
Tips & Warnings
Maintain written records of all correspondence with DSHS and keep track of each phone call and what was said.
Be patient with the DSHS phone bank; each representative takes the time to discuss an individual's case as thoroughly as is needed, your turn will be given equal consideration.
Avoid letting your own fear or frustration create hostility between yourself and a staff member; no matter how upsetting your circumstances are, DSHS staff can serve you better if you can control your emotional response in order to explain your situation.Tags: your application, with DSHS, speak with, your situation, about your