Basic Food Work Requirements - Work Registration


WAC 388-444-0005 Am I required to work or look for work in order to be eligible for Basic Food?


Clarifying Information - WAC 388-444-0005

Exempt clients (per WAC 388-444-0010) are not required to register for work, so they are not work registrants.

Non-exempt clients are people who receive Basic Food and must be registered for work. They are considered work registrants, and further divided into two groups:

ABAWD Work Registrant 

  • Effective January 1st, 2018, Able-bodied adults ages 18 through 49 without dependents and no have no physical or mental disabilities preventing them from working and who live in King County (with the exception of Muckleshoot Reservation) are required to participate in specific activities outlined in the ABAWD WACs to stay eligible for Basic Food and avoid the three month time limit.   
  • Time limit exemptions and participation for ABAWDs are different than non-ABAWD work registrants, and only apply to those not exempt per WAC 388-444-0010.


Non-ABAWD Work Registrant

  • All other non-exempt clients age 16 through 59 must meet work registration requirements or they could be disqualified from Basic Food.
  • All non-ABAWDs who receive Basic Food benefits and are not exempt per WAC 388-444-0010 must register for work.
  • There is no time limit for non-ABAWD clients.
  • There are no mandatory participation in BFET. All clients are voluntary participants and may participate in BFET if otherwise eligible.
DSHS registers the clients for work by completing the WORK Registration screen in ACES/3G.

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-444-0005

  1. During application, add a person or eligibility review, determine if members of the Basic Food AU are non-exempt work registrants or exempt.
  2. For any exempt work registrants, code the most appropriate exemption per current procedure, on the Exempt Reason field on the WORK Registration screen in ACES/3G.
  3. For any non-exempt work registrant, determine if the client(s) is considered ABAWD.
  4. Register the client for work by coding the WORK Registration screen in ACES/3G with the appropriate E&T status code. For ABAWDs, see ABAWD WACs to determine if you should code participation or exemptions in the Work Status field.
  5. If a WorkFirst household is sanctioned, determine whether or not the sanctioned persons are exempt from Basic Food work requirements.  Disqualify non-participating members of the TANF household from receiving Basic Food unless they are exempt under WAC 388-444-0010.

Basic food may also be terminated for TANF applicants/receipients who do not cooperate with other TANF eligibility (such as financial) criteria.