(Editor’s note: This information comes straight from Columbia Legal Services, who have taken the lead in challenging WA State DSHS’ attempt to end Basic Food benefits to legal immigrants in the state.)
On January 27, 2011, a federal court stopped DSHS from terminating state-funded, Basic Food benefits to more than 10,000 Washington households who had been told that their state food assistance would end February 1, 2011. The court must still decide whether DSHS can cut the Food Assistance Program for Legal Immigrants in the future.
Following are step-by-step instructions for folks who expected to have their benefits cut:
1. Did you get a letter from DSHS stating your food assistance was being cut because of lack of funding? If so, you should check the balance on your Quest card to make sure you get your February benefits on the day you normally get your food benefits added to your card. The last digit of your Client ID# is the day of the month that DSHS adds food benefits to your Quest card. (If the number is zero, than you get benefits on the 10th of the month.) On this day, call DSHS toll-free at 1.888.328.9271 or visit the local DSHS office.
2. Does DSHS have your citizenship or immigration status correct? You should make sure that DSHS has correct citizenship or immigration status information for each member of your household by calling DSHS or visiting the local DSHS office. DSHS needs this information to see if you qualify for federal food benefits. DSHS will not share this information with immigration authorities.
3. What should you do if you do not get February food benefits or no longer have a Quest card? If you do not get your February food benefits or need a replacement Quest card, ask DSHS for help. Call or visit the local DSHS office. If you need more help, call Columbia Legal Services toll-free at 1.800.260.6260, ext. 207. There is more information on the Columbia Legal Services website.