Ohio Food Assistance
Food Stamps * Food Banks * Food Pantries * Soup Kitchens * WIC
School Meals * Special Milk * Summer Food * Senior Nutrition
In the State of Ohio, there are many sources for help with food. The Ohio Food Assistance Program (SNAP), food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens are all helping residents in need to cope with hunger and food insecurity.
ON THIS PAGE
Learn more about
SNAP benefits a.k.a. Food Stamps.
Who is eligible for SNAP benefits (Food Stamps) in Ohio?
How to apply for Ohio Food Assistance?
How does Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS) determine eligibility?
Approved! When and how do I get the Food Stamps benefits?
How much Food Stamps benefits do participants receive per month?
How and where to use Food Stamps benefits?
Food Stamp (SNAP benefits) 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 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 the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS). The Federal Government oversees the State operation of the SNAP. According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services the Food Assistance Program “helps eligible low-income Ohioans stretch their food budgets and buy healthy food.”
Approx. of the total Ohio population received Food Stamp Benefits in 2018
Recipients in June, 2018 of Food Stamps (SNAP) Benefits in Ohio
Recipients in June, 2017 of Food Stamp (SNAP) Benefits in Ohio
Who is Eligible for Food Assistance in Ohio?
The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in Ohio, like in other States, are based on a 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 the eligible, low‐income local populations.
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 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.
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.
To figure out, before applying, if you'd qualify for food stamps benefits in your state you have to consider the following:
- Your Household size: How many people you live and buy food with? Count:
- anyone you live with and buy and make food with
- children under 22 years old and,
- elderly 60+ and disabled that you make food for.
- Your Income: How much money does your household make? This includes both:
- earned income - the money you make from jobs and
- unearned income - cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, child support, etc.
Who counts as a member of the household for SNAP eligibility?
In general, anyone who lives with you and you buy food with counts a member of your household.
Your children under 22 of age count as household members, even if they buy and make their own food.
But your tenant, for example, or your adult children that are over 22 of age do not count. They are not counted in the household number for the purpose of food stamp benefits qualification.
The elderly age of 60+ and disabled people count as household members if you buy and make food for them, or you buy and make food together. If they live with you, but they buy and make food separately, they do not count as household members.
See the updated table below for this fiscal year's income limits and monthly benefits (allotments).
What is the gross and net income limit that qualifies you for food stamps?
SNAP Max Income for Food Stamps
Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020
(130% of poverty)
(100% of poverty)
|Each additional member||+$479||+$369||+$146|
Source: USDA, SNAP Income Eligibility Standards
What are the Benefits?
If approved, the Ohio Food Stamp Benefit amounts depend on the household size and the amount of their net income. USDA has maximum food stamp benefit limits per month per household size. Check the table what are the maximum food stamp assistance monetary amounts. They are called 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 a 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 the 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 number 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 the 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 the 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 in 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 Cardholders 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 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 these Ohio Food Stamps Stores Near You 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 farmworker. 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 the Ohio Food Assistance Program.
Ohio Food Assistance Program
Find more about the Ohio Food Assistance Program
Search for Food Assistance by County and Town
Food Banks in Ohio
Ohio food banks play an important role in the overall Ohio food assistance effort to end hunger and food insecurity throughout the State of Ohio.
Their main objective is to collect food from various sources like wholesale organizations, grocery stores, and farms who have food in excess and are willing to donate.
Food banks then, sort, store, and distribute donated food to local soup kitchens, shelters, and food pantries.
The Food Bank Association of Ohio is such a non-profit organization that works to alleviate hunger in Ohio.
Ohio Food Banks
Food Pantries in Ohio
Food pantries offer food directly to people that need it and who have the means to cook it. They usually receive food from local food banks and in turn distribute it to low-income individuals and households at no cost.
Food pantries are typically located in facilities where received food can be stored and handled in a safe and sanitary manner.
Each food pantry serves a designated local area and most of them require prior registration and approval before food can be distributed to a particular individual or a family.
Soup Kitchens In Ohio
Soup kitchens serve cooked meals on-site to needy people at no cost. Like food pantries, they normally receive their food from local food banks.
Soup kitchens take care mostly of homeless people and people who do not have the means to cook for themselves.
They require storage, cleaning, and cooking equipment as they have to do food preparation, serving, and cleaning after the meals.
Food pantries are typically located in facilities where received food can be stored and handled in a safe and sanitary manner.
Each food pantry serves a designated local area and most of them require prior registration and approval before food can be served to a particular individual or a family.
WIC Program in Ohio
Ohio Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides healthy foods, breastfeeding support, nutrition education, health care referrals to Ohio pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children during times of important growth.
Ohio Women, Infants, and Children Program
School Meals in Ohio
School meals in Ohio are offered mainly through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.
The Ohio school meals programs make nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free meals available to school children each school day in the year.
School meals nutritional standards are based on the recommendation from the Institute of Medicine and the U.S. Government and teachers have reported that students perform better in class if they get regular meals.
Children getting school breakfast also had significantly reduced absence and tardiness rates, according to a Tufts University study.
Ohio School Lunch Program | Ohio School Breakfast Program
Special Milk Program in Ohio
Ohio Special Milk Program offers milk to children in schools, childcare institutions, and eligible camps. Any child in a school or institution that participates in the Special Milk Program can get milk.
Schools may elect to offer free milk to low-income children. In order to qualify for Ohio Special Milk, the child must be a resident of the State of Ohio.
Summer Food Program in Ohio
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is another Ohio food assistance program that provides free meals and snacks to help low-income Ohio children get nutritious meals in the summertime.
The Summer Food Service Program is a federal program that provides grants to local sponsors who want to combine a food service with a summer activity program.
The funding provided by SFSP ensures that Ohio children in low-income areas continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations when they do not have access to school lunch or breakfast.
Ohio Summer Food Service Program
Senior Nutrition in Ohio
Ohio Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides low-income seniors with special checks to buy fresh, nutritious fruits, vegetables, and herbs from authorized farmers’ markets. To qualify for Ohio senior nutrition special checks, the applicants must be 60 years of age or older and their gross household income must not exceed certain limits.
An application must be completed for each person in the household that wants to apply for the SFMNP benefits. Once approved, each beneficiary must reapply every year to continue participating in the Ohio Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Learn more about how the senior nutrition program works.
Ohio Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
Sources: State Agencies, FNS, USDA