Food stamps – SNAP

For more than 40 years, SNAP has served as the foundation of America’s national nutrition safety net. It is the first line of defense against hunger and is a powerful tool for improving nutrition among low-income people.

Benefits come to the household via electronic debit cards, known as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards which can be used in more than 246,000 approved retail stores nationwide to purchase food.

To get SNAP benefits, households must meet certain tests, including resource and income tests:

  • Resources
  • Income
  • Deductions
  • Employment Requirements
  • Special Rules for Elderly or Disabled
  • Immigrant Eligibility

For more details about eligibility see this page.

During the public health emergency, a temporary federal rule change provides expanded eligibility to college students enrolled at least half time.  Students that have a $0 expected family contribution (EFC) as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), or students that have a Work Study Award as part of their financial aid, can now become eligible for Basic Food.

Step 1:

  • If you have a $0 EFC and/or a current Work Study Award go to the Financial Aid Status tab on your MyUW and use the Print Award Letter function, or
  • If you do not have a current work study award, and would like apply for SNAP benefits, please contact the Work Study Office to discuss whether you meet the  criteria work study eligibility.

Step 2:

Use these resources to help you apply for Basic Food (SNAP):

WA 2-1-1

2-1-1 is a free confidential community service and your one-stop connection to the local services you need, from utility assistance, food, housing, health, child care, after school programs, elder care, crisis intervention and much more. Dial the three digit number 2-1-1 on your phone or Find Help here. If you are outside of Washington or have a problem dialing the number 2-1-1, please dial 1-877-211-9274.

University district food bank

For 32 years, the University District Food Bank has helped prevent hunger in northeast Seattle neighborhoods. The food bank operates a walk-in food bank offering food, toiletries, baby formula, diapers and pet food to area residents.

Affordable housing

King County Housing Authority provides a free website where you can search available housing options in King County, Washington.


The YWCA of King and Snohomish counties offers a variety of programs to assist individuals and families overcome poverty, homelessness, violence and discrimination. Services include emergency shelter, affordable housing, economic empowerment, domestic violence support, youth programs, health care access, and much more.

Community health centers

King County community health centers help assure better access to health care for people living in King County. The centers offer primary medical and dental care to those who would not otherwise get it.