Assistance Programs, Local Agencies and Charities

Food  Housing  Cash Assistance  Bills  Health  Education  Employment



  • Ohio Food Assistance Program  – Monthly food stamp benefits to help low-income people and families buy the food they need for good health, Call: 614-466-4815
  • Ohio Disability Financial Assistance Program (DFA) Provides a monthly cash benefit to eligible low-income individuals with disabilities who do not meet all the requirements necessary to receive help from other federal and state programs, Call: Local Agency
  • Ohio Works First (OWF)  – Provides cash as a temporary financial assistance to Ohio needy families with children for up to 36 monthsCall: 614-466-4815
  • Ohio Telephone Assistance Program (Lifeline) – Offers discounts on basic monthly service for qualified telephone customers, Call: 800-686-7826
  • Ohio Medicaid  – A health insurance program that provides medical and health-related services to eligible Ohio residents, Call: 800-324-8680
  • Ohio Healthy Start Program – Offers health care coverage to Ohio children up to age 19 and pregnant women based on their family income eligibility as required by the program, Call: 800-324-8680
  • Ohio Healthy Families Program  – Offers health care coverage to Ohio families with income up to 90% of the federal poverty level and a child younger than age 19, Call: 800-324-8680
  • Ohio Medicaid for 19 and 20 Year Olds Program  – Provides health care coverage to Ohio individuals who are age 19 or 20 years old whose countable income does not exceed 44% of the federal poverty level, Call: 800-324-8680
  • Ohio Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)  – Healthy foods, breastfeeding support, nutrition education, health care referrals, Call: 614-644-8006
  • Ohio National School Lunch Program (NSLP)  Provides low-cost or free lunches to school children, Call: 877-644-6338
  • Ohio Special Milk Program  – Offers milk to children in schools, childcare institutions, and eligible camps, Call: 800-808-6325
  • Ohio School Breakfast Program (SBP)  Provides low-cost or free meals to school children, Call: 877-644-6338
  • Ohio Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)  – Provides free meals and snacks to help low-income children in the summer months, Call: 877-644-6338
  • Ohio Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)  Provides healthy meals and snacks to children and adults receiving day care, Call: 877-644-6338
  • Ohio Head Start  – Comprehensive child development programs serving low-income children and their familiesCall: 937-435-1113
  • Ohio Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) Designed to help eligible low-income Ohioans meet the high costs of home heating, Call: 800-282-0880
  • Ohio Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) – Provides eligible Ohioans with assistance to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce energy costs, Call: 800-282-0880
  • Ohio Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)  – Designed to aid individuals known to be at risk of malnutrition due to low income and poor health conditions, Call: Local Agency
  • Ohio Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)  – Provides low-income seniors with special coupons to buy fresh, nutritious fruits, vegetables, and herbs from authorized farmers’ markets, Call: Local Agency
  • Ohio Housing Choice Voucher Program  – Helps eligible low-income households lease privately owned rental units from participating landlords, Call: Local PHA
  • Ohio Public Housing  – Provides safe, decent, and affordable rental units for eligible low-income residents., Call: Local PHA


Homeowners Assistance and Housing Programs

Ohio – Making Home Affordable options

Making Home Affordable is a federal program designed to cover different homeowners’ hardships and financial situations. Under the program there are various options that can help Ohio homeowners in hardship stay in their homes. Depending on the situation Ohio homeowners in hardship can apply to lower their monthly payments, lower the interest rate on their home loan or even get principal reduction in some cases.

There are foreclosure alternatives and temporarily help for unemployed homeowners as well.

Here are some of the most used options under Making Home Affordable Program:

HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved housing counselor can be reached at: 888-995-4673  (Hearing impaired: 877-304-9709 TTY) to help you understand your options, prepare your application, and work with your mortgage company.


Food Assistance Programs, Services, and Organizations in Ohio

Ohio Food Assistance Program

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the Food Stamps Program as it is known by the public, is a federal program that provides grants to the States for purpose of reducing the hunger and malnutrition in all eligible households across the nation. SNAP helps provide healthy food to qualifying low-income families with children, elderly or disabled in each State of the USA, including Ohio.

It is important to know that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federal entitlement program funded by U.S. Government grants. Any U.S. Citizen, even some legal alien residents, will get free food assistance as long as they meet the SNAP eligibility guidelines. In other words, there is enough Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for every American that qualifies. Learn more about SNAP.

In Ohio the SNAP is administered by Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS). The Federal Government oversees the State operation of the SNAP. According to Ohio Department of Job and Family Services the Food Assistance Program “helps eligible low-income Ohioans stretch their food budgets and buy healthy food.”


Who is Eligible for Food Assistance in Ohio?

The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in Ohio, like in other States, are based on limited income, limited liquid resources, household size, and other requirements. Most eligibility rules are determined by regulations issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service.

The federal law allows States some flexibility when implementing SNAP on a State level. State agencies can adapt some of the food assistance program rules in order to meet the needs of eligible, low‐income local population.

Ohio Food Assistance Program is designed for individuals and families with limited income resources, who compose a household, and purchase and prepare their meals together for home consumption.

In general, to qualify for Ohio Food Assistance Benefits you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Ohio Resident – must be a U.S. Citizen or a legal resident with SNAP eligible non-citizen status;
  • Work Requirement – unless exempted, in most counties each able-bodied household member must work or participate in an employment and training program if offered, registered to work, and accept a suitable employment offer;
  • Low Income –  Income limits eligibility depends on the household size and composition. Households with no elderly or disabled individuals must meet both gross and net income limits. Gross income includes wages, salaries, commissions, dividends, child support, self-employment income, unemployment compensation, social security benefits and other income. Household net income is computed by deducting certain allowed expenses from gross income. The resulting numbers must fall below the net income dollar amounts listed in the table below for your household to get food assistance benefits. This dollar amount depends on the number of people in your household.
    See the table with Ohio food stamp income limits per household size below.
Oct. 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2016 USDA FNS SNAP Max Income
Household SizeGross Monthly Income
200 % of poverty level
Gross Monthly Income
130 % of poverty level
Net Monthly Income
100 % of poverty level
Each additional member+$694+$451+$347

Source: USDA, SNAP Income Eligibility Standards

Some Ohio residents may be automatically or so called categorically eligible for Food Assistance if they already participate in other means tested assistance programs. If each household member receives or is authorized to receive Ohio Works First (OWF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Disability Financial Assistance (DFA) or a Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funded service, or any combination of these benefits the household is categorically eligible, thus bypassing the standard income and asset eligibility rules. Categorically eligible households with elderly or disabled individuals with gross incomes over 200% of the poverty line face a $3,250 limit on liquid assets.


Quick Eligibility Check

Use this Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool to find out if you might be eligible to get Ohio Food Assistance Benefits (Food Stamps). The Screening allows interested in getting Ohio food stamps to provide some basic information and determine if they are potentially eligible for benefits. Although you will be notified immediately if you qualify after completing the questionnaire you still have to make and sign an application at your local County Department of Job and Family Services.


What are the Benefits?

If approved, the Ohio Food Stamp Benefit amounts depend on the household size and the amount of the their net income. USDA has maximum food stamp benefit limits per month per household size. Check below what are the maximum food stamp assistance monetary amounts. They are called allotments.

Oct. 1, 2015 - Sept. 30, 2016 USDA Max SNAP Allotments
Household SizeMaximum Food Assistance Monthly Allotment
Each additional member$146

Source: USDA, SNAP Maximum Allotments


How to Apply for Food Assistance (Food Stamps) in Ohio?

To apply for Food Assistance Benefits you need to fill in an application, file it, complete an interview and provide required verification to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

You can start by downloading the “Request for Cash, Food, and Medical Assistance“, which is a form offered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The form can be filled in online, printed, and mailed or turned in as a paper application.

The same application form can be used to apply for Cash Assistance and Medical Assistance programs. More than one assistance program in an application is common practice by a lot of the States, since most of the people in need of food stamps are likely to be in need of cash and other assistance and services.

Applicants for Food Assistance Benefits in State of Ohio have the right to file an application in person, through an authorized representative, by fax, by mail, or online.

The Request for Cash, Food, and Medical Assistance application may be submitted to any local County Department of Job and Family Services office.

If you do not have all the information that is needed to complete the Food Assistance application, provide as much as you can – but you must include your name, address, social security number, and your signature for the DJFS office to accept it. All required information and its verification can be provided later at the interview or upon request.

If you are eligible, your Food Assistance Benefits will start from the date the DJFS receives your application – that’s why it is important to file as soon as possible if you are in need of food assistance.

However, if you provide more information, it will help the DJFS determine your eligibility more quickly.

The application process includes an eligibility interview and information verification. After you have submitted your application, the DJFS office will contact you to set up an interview and verify the information on your application. If you are elderly, disabled individual, or unable to go to the office due to a hardship, call the DJFS to request your SNAP eligibility interview conducted over the phone.

At the interview, you will meet with a DJFS caseworker who will determine if you qualify for benefits, and if you do, determine the amount of your monthly benefits. You will also receive information from the caseworker or other staff about work requirements, if any, and your responsibilities.

Within 30 days of the interview, if eligible, you will receive a notice stating how much food assistance benefit and for how long your household is eligible for before a review of the case is due, along with reporting requirements.

The Food Assistance Benefit amount depends on the household size and its net income – that is all countable income minus all allowable deductions.

If Ohio DJFS finds you eligible for Food Assistance Benefits, you will be entitled to receive food stamps from the date your signed application was received.

Ohio Food Assistance applicants also have the option to apply for Food Assistance Benefits online using ODJFS Benefits – the Ohio State Online Benefit Application System that enables users to apply for Food Assistance, Medical Assistance and Cash Assistance Benefits.


Ohio Food Assistance Benefits Approval, Rules, Proofs Required

The ODJFS Office has to interview you and verify provided information before determining if the household is eligible for Food Assistance Benefits.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services lists examples of what is needed at the interview:

  • Social Security number or proof that you have applied for one
  • Income (from such things as pay stubs, tax records or child support notices)
  • Identity (for example, a driver’s license or state ID)
  • Housing and utility costs
  • Any child care or dependent care costs
  • Any child support you pay for children not living with you
  • Any medical expenses (including prescriptions) for those with disabilities or for those over age 60

Depending on case the Food Assistance Worker may request additional types of proof and application supporting documents.

Applicants for Food Assistance in Ohio should get a response within 30 days from the date they submitted their application to the local Food Assistance Office. Households getting food stamps benefits must report any changes of their household situation in a set by the agency period in order to assure their participation in the Food Assistance Program.


Approved! When and How Do I Get the Food Assistance Benefits?

Ohio Food Assistance Program provides the benefits via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the Ohio SNAP are transferred to the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through Ohio Direction Card. Food assistance benefits are deposited into an EBT account of the beneficiary each month following the Benefit Issuance Schedule.

Benefits are made available for the above individuals from the 2nd to the 20th of every month, based on the last digit of the client’s SNAP case number:

Case number ending in 0 = benefits available on the 2nd of the month
Case number ending in 1 = benefits available on the 4th of the month
Case number ending in 2 = benefits available on the 6th of the month
Case number ending in 3 = benefits available on the 8th of the month
Case number ending in 4 = benefits available on the 10th of the month
Case number ending in 5 = benefits available on the 12th of the month
Case number ending in 6 = benefits available on the 14th of the month
Case number ending in 7 = benefits available on the 16th of the month
Case number ending in 8 = benefits available on the 18th of the month
Case number ending in 9 = benefits available on the 20th of the month

New Ohio Direction Card holders will be notified of their issuance dates when their eligibility and benefits are approved. In addition, all cardholders can call the Ohio Direction Card customer service number 6 days prior to the first of each month to find out when their benefits will become available.

If you have any question regarding your EBT Account or EBT Card call Ohio EBT Customer Service: 1-866-244-0071


How and Where to Use the Food Stamp Benefits?

Ohio Food Assistance Benefits are provided via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the Ohio Food Stamps are transferred into the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through Ohio EBT Cards. Households and individuals can use their EBT cards and spend the benefits like cash at any Ohio grocery stores and farmers’ markets that are authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to accept SNAP (food stamp) benefits.

Check this list of Ohio food stamp participating stores that are authorized to take EBT cards for purchasing of SNAP eligible food items. Eligible food items are any food to be eaten at home by people, including baby food, non-alcoholic beverages, and seasonings. Seeds and plants to grow food for your own family’s consumption are also allowed to be purchased with food stamp benefits. You cannot buy non-grocery items with food stamp benefits, such as cleaning products, pet food, paper products, alcohol, or tobacco.


I Need Food Assistance Now. It is an Emergency!

Some households may get Expedited Services – that is getting Food Assistance Benefits within 7 calendar days if your household has less than $150 in monthly gross income and liquid resources (cash, checking or savings accounts) of $100 or less; or your rent/mortgage and utilities are more than your household’s combined monthly income and liquid resources; or a member of your household is a migrant or seasonal farm worker. In order to get expedite assistance, if you qualify, provide all required information and proof as soon as possible. Call 1-614-466-4815 for more information on Ohio Food Assistance Program.