Do I qualify for Food Assistance?
Can I buy anything with my food assistance card?
Eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is complex -- based on family size, income and expenses -- but both families and
individuals may qualify to receive Food Assistance.
You may qualify for benefits if your household's gross monthly income is at or under 130% of the federal poverty guidelines
. Some households with incomes over the limits may still qualify if someone in the household is elderly or disabled. Use the SNAP Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool
to learn more or see if you may qualify.
Can I use my food assistance card for ordering groceries online?
Household items, magazines, newspapers, tobacco products, medicine, paper goods, vitamins, or alcoholic drinks may not be purchased with food assistance card. For more information about your EBT card please read the EBT FAQ document
Food Assistance Non-Discrimination Statement
How do I apply for Food Assistance?
How do I reapply for Food Assistance?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several retailers have added the SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card option for online ordering. SNAP recipients are now able to order their food online and pick up curbside or in store. Those retailers providing this service include:
Walmart — All Ohio locations
• Order online or by mobile app (IOS) (Android)
• Select “EBT Card” as payment option
• Pay using EBT Card at pickup
Kroger — Select Ohio locations
• Order online or by mobile app (IOS) (Android)
• Select “SNAP EBT at Pickup” as payment option
• Pay using EBT Card at pickup
Giant Eagle — All Ohio locations
• Must have a curbside order that exceeds $35
• Call your local Giant Eagle location regarding EBT Card payment
Each customer will receive an appointment letter to call in to the agency for an interview to re-determine eligibility for Food Assistance. The appointment letter will state a time and day for you to call the agency to complete your interview. Our interview phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Please be sure to check your appointment letter, and call us at your scheduled interview time. Failing to conduct this interview may result in the delay or termination of your benefits. The interview hotline 1-844-640-6446 should only be used to complete your interview or to reschedule your interview. For other inquiries, please contact our call center at 614-233-2000.
How long can I receive food assistance?
As long as your income falls within the guidelines and you abide by the rules and reulations of the food assistance program.
How long do I have to return requested verifications?
Ten days total from the date printed on the request for verifications. If verifications are not turned in within the 10-day timeframe, it may result in a delay in processing and possible denial of your application.Verifications can be submitted by mail, fax (614-233-2109), or in-person at drop box or our Quick-Scan station.
How long will it take before I receive Food Assistance after I apply?
Expedited services are available for households with no income and who meet the expedited guideline within 24 to 72 hours. For non-expedited services, once all verifications are received, it can take up to 30 days for assistance to be determined. When approved, the card will be received within 5 – 10 days.
How much food assistance will I receive?
The amount of food assistance you will receive is based on your household size, income and expenses.
What do I need to bring with me to apply for food assistance?
What is Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)?
In order to complete your application, you will need to provide accurate verifications of your identity, residency, household income, and expenses.The specific documents accepted are listed in the application, as well as this flyer
, but in general you will need documents like:
- Social Security cards or proof of an application for everyone who will be receiving the benefits
- Verification of residency (i.e. lease agreement or utility bill in your name)
- Verification of household income earned and unearned income (pay stubs, child support, Social Security Income, or any other income you are receiving or you have received within the last 30 days)
- Verification of child support paid
- Verification of mortgage/rent (via rent receipt from last 30 days, current lease agreement in your name, or letter from person that you are living with that includes how much you pay per month)
- Verification of utility cost (utility bill in your name or letter from landlord stating that you are responsible for the utility represented in the bill)
- Child care expenses (receipt or letter from child care provider stating how much you pay for child care services)
- Medical expense (if you are aged/ blind or disabled)
- If you are receiving Publicly Funded Child Care from FCDJFS we will be able to look up your co-pay
The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to raise nutritional levels, to expand buying power and to safeguard the health and well-being of individuals in low-income households in Ohio. A household may consist of an individual or a group of individuals who live together and usually purchase, prepare and eat their food together. SNAP benefits are available through the "Ohio Direction Card" an electronic debit card system.
How do I apply for Child Care Assistance?
How long does it take to process my application from when I submit it?
FCDJFS may take up to 30 days from the date of submission to process and make a determination on any application. If all verifications needed to determine eligibility are provided at the time of the application, the processing time decreases.
How often do I need to complete a redetermination to prevent my child care benefit from expiring?
In order to maintain continued eligibility for your child care benefit, a redetermination packet must be submitted every twelve (12) months, and is due before your current eligibility ends. A redetermination application (JFS 1124) is mailed 45 days before the end date of eligibility. To avoid potential interruption to your child care benefit, please submit the JFS 1124 and all supporting documentation before the end date of eligibility. A second letter will be mailed 15 days before the end date of eligibility reminding you of the termination date.
I currently have an open child care case. How do I report changes?
What are some program-specific rules for Child Care Centers?
To report a change, to your child care case, such as a new provider, you may use a Child Care Change form (1401-CC) and submit it to FCDJFS. You may also call the Customer Access Center (CAC) at (614) 233-2000 option 2 and report the change, such as new employment, or address change over the phone. If verification is required for the reported change, submit the documents within 10 days of the date the change is reported, and please be sure to include the best way a case manager can contact you if further information is needed regarding your reported change(s).
Fax your documents to (614) 233-2749, or email documents to: FranklinCountyChildcare@fcdjfs.franklincountyohio.gov
Please remember to include your name and/or 10-digit case number on each document that you submit.
What are some program-specific rules for Family Child Care?
More information about program-specific rules for Child Care Centers can be found by clicking here.
What happens if I lose my job or stop attending school?
More information about program-specific rules for Family Child Care, including Type A, Type B and In-Home Aides, can be found by clicking here.
What is Publicly Funded Child Care (PFCC)?
A caretaker may continue to receive publicly funded child care (PFCC) for up to 13 weeks after the loss of a qualifying activity, such as loss of employment, no longer in school, or not participating in work activity for cash assistance. This 13-week benefit is available only once every 12 months. If approved:
- Continued eligibility will begin the first day of the activity loss, regardless of when the change is reported;
- Co-payments may be recalculated and shall be effective from the first day of the new corresponding eligibility period; and
- Continued eligibility may be extended up to 13 weeks from the date that the qualifying activity ended.◦In some circumstances, the continued eligibility period may be less than 13 weeks.
Publicly Funded Child Care (PFCC), also known as subsidized child care, is an income-based assistance program available through FCDJFS. PFCC helps eligible families pay for the cost of child care services for children under the age of 13 and children with disabilities up to the age of 18. Applicants may be required to pay a co-payment based on gross monthly income and family size.
When will I get a notice that my application was approved or denied?
A notice should be received in the mail within 7 to 10 business days after the decision is made.
Where can I get a list of Child Care Providers that accept Publicly Funded Child Care?
Who is eligible for Child Care Assistance?
FCDJFS recommends the following resources to assist parents and caretakers in locating a Child Care Provider that fits their needs:
Will I be contacted if a certain verification or part of my application is missing?
Financial eligibility is based on your family’s gross monthly income and family size. Gross monthly household income is defined as your income before taxes, which includes employment income, child support, cash assistance, social security, disability, etc.
- New Applicants – The gross monthly household income for your family size must be equal to or less than 130% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
- Existing Recipients – The gross monthly household income for your family size must be equal to or less than 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to maintain ongoing eligibility for Child Care.
Please find below a brief outline of the Income Eligibility Standards:
2020 Federal Poverty Level (100%)
Maximum Income Limit for Initial Eligibility (130%)
Maximum Income Limit for Ongoing Eligibility (300%)
For the complete list of 2020 Federal Poverty Guidelines, click here
Yes, FCDJFS may take up to 10-calendar days to review applications and mail a follow-up letter indicating what information is still needed to determine eligibility.
What is FCDJFS doing to meet its 2020 Step Up to Quality mandate?
By September 2020, the State of Ohio will require all child care providers who receive public funding to be star rated through Ohio’s Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) or lose that funding. As a result, the Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services (FCDJFS) is offering free trainings for home and center-based child care providers. The trainings will allow providers to earn up to 32 hours of Ohio Approved Professional Development to support them in the SUTQ rating process both to help become or stay star rated.
Why is being star-rated important for providers?
What we know from our work is that star-rated providers of child care in Franklin County are held to the highest quality standards when it comes to caring for children. Parents seek to find centers or home child care providers who are star-rated because staff is knowledgeable and passionate about their work. They provide a safe, nurturing, and caring environment so children can develop verbal and social skills to learn and grow, not only for today but also for their future.
How will the training benefit providers?
FCDJFS trainings will be offered in several rotating cohorts, through in-person and online vehicles and will include hands on technical assistance to help providers understand what is required to become SUTQ star-rated, how to fill out forms and prepare their center for initial or maintenance of an existing rating. The training is approved by the Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (OCCRRA), and those who complete the training will earn up to 32 hours credit toward their SUTQ star rating.
Are all PFCC providers eligible to participate in the training?
Regardless of their star level, all home-based or center-based PFCC providers in Franklin County are eligible to participate in the training.
How will the content be customized for providers?
Home-based providers will be in a separate cohort than center-based providers, but will cover the same content. This ensures all providers get what they need out of the training to prepare them for star rating. The training is designed with activities and completion of SUTQ forms to allow providers to delve into specific tasks that enable them to store the information in their long-term memory through repetition and experience. All providers, regardless of their setting type and current star rating, have an opportunity to learn.
What is the cost of Step Up to Quality training?
There is no cost but you must be a provider that operates home or center-based child care in Franklin County.
What is the time commitment for the training?
Participants will complete training over four Saturdays. Each Saturday will last for 8 hours.
Why is the training important?
In 2017, Franklin County had roughly 32,000 children utilizing Publicly Funded Child Care with 24% of center based providers and 18% of home providers star rated. This means if the 2020 mandates went in place today, approximately 23,000 children would need new child care providers – and more than 10,000 working parents would need to drop everything to find a star-rated provider to care for them.
What else will FCDJFS be doing to meet the 2020 SUTQ mandate?
What is Step Up to Quality?
Franklin County Job and Family Services takes seriously the State of Ohio mandate to ensure all home and center based child care are star rated by 2020. FCDJFS is engaged in multiple strategies to help meet that mandate including:
- Increased engagement by FCDJFS staff with child care providers regarding the benefits of being and/or staying star rated;
- Partnering with community organizations to help provide technical assistance to home and center based providers on how to become and stay star rated.
- Partnering with the State of Ohio by participating in community group meetings to communicate with providers the existing support with becoming Step Up to Quality star rated.
- Leveraging this programmatic and grassroots partnership with radio and television ads to support our grassroots and to help reinforce the benefits of becoming a star-rated provider and why parents should seek home and center-based child care that is star rated.
Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) is a five-star quality rating and improvement system for early learning programs. SUTQ program standards are based on national research and administered by the state of Ohio. A star rating recognizes early learning programs that meet and exceed those SUTQ program standards as well as health and safety regulations. To put it simply, a star rating is a sign that a home or child care provider meets the highest quality standards to care for your child.
What is a star rating?
Why is a star rating important for parents?
A star rating from the state of Ohio is a sign that a home child care provider or center meets the highest quality standards to care for your child. Find out more at http://childcaresearch.ohio.gov/
to find a star-rated provider.
Why is it important for providers to be star rated?
A star rating is important because it is a sign that a provider offers a safe, caring, nurturing environment for your child and has staff that are qualified to help your child develop verbal and social skills to learn and grow, not only for today but also for their future. Find out more at http://childcaresearch.ohio.gov/
to find a star-rated provider.
As a provider, how can I find out more about being star rated?
Being star rated and staying star rated is a sign for parents that your home or center:
- Is held to the highest quality standards when caring for their children.
- Offers safe, caring, and nurturing environment to help their children learn and grow.
- Staff can help their children develop verbal and social skills to learn and grow, not only for today but also for their future.
Also, if you are star rated by 2020, eligible families can receive assistance to help pay for child care at your center.
What is Ohio Works First (OWF) cash assistance?
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) also referred to as Ohio Works First (OWF) cash assistance is an income-based program offered to assist families that are experiencing a temporary financial hardship and help to place them on a path to self-sufficiency.
Who is eligible to apply for OWF Cash Assistance?
How do I apply for Ohio Works First (OWF) Cash Assistance?
What are OWF Time Limits?
OWF Cash Assistance is an income-based program and all applicants/families must meet federal income guidelines. In addition, applicants must be...
- The parent, legal guardian, legal custodian, or specified relative of a minor child living in your household under the age of 19 (A specified relative is anyone age 18 or older caring for a minor in place of the parent[s] and can verify the relationship); or,
- Medically verified to be at least 6 months pregnant (third trimester).
What is a Work Activity?
A customer can be eligible to receive OWF for a period of up to 36 months.
Months do not have to be counted consecutively (ex: a participant could receive OWF for a 10-month span over the course of a year and still be eligible to participate in the program for up to 26 additional months).
Once the 36-month timeframe has expired, the customer may submit an application for an OWF Hardship Exemption
or OWF Good Cause Extension
Participants receiving OWF cash assistance are required to sign and comply with a self-sufficiency contract and plan that requires the customer to participate in an assigned work activity.
What are the work activity requirements for families receiving OWF Cash Assistance?
What occurs if I fail to complete my OWF monthly work activity hours?
Customers receiving OWF cash are required to complete a Work Activity assignment for an established number of hours each month, depending on their household composition.
*Publicly-Funded Child Care or Subsidized Child Care assistance is available for families participating in the OWF Work Activity program. A separate application is required for this benefit.
- Single-parent household with a child(ren) age 5 or younger: 87 required monthly hours
- Single-parent household with a child(ren) age 6-18: 130 required monthly hours
- 2-parent household (not utilizing Publicly-Funded Child Care): 152 required monthly hours
- 2-parent household (utilizing Publicly-Funded Child Care): 238 required monthly hours
What is an OWF Hardship?
Customers who fail to attend their assigned work activity (without providing Good Cause documentation for their absence) are subject to sanctions/penalties being applied to the benefits. These penalties can range from one (1) to six (6) months.
- First Offense: Cash assistance is closed for one (1) month, or until a mandatory compliance has been met
- Second Offense: Cash assistance is closed for three (3) months, or until a mandatory compliance has been met
- Third Offense (and any future occurrences): Cash assistance is closed for six (6) months, or until a mandatory compliance has been met. (Customers failing to meet their monthly required work activity hours may also have a penalty placed on their food and medical assistance.)
What is OWF Good Cause?
Customers who have exhausted their 36 months of OWF eligibility but are still experiencing extenuating barriers in gaining employment are eligible to apply for additional months of assistance. Examples of these hardships and barriers include:
- health issues affecting the customer or family member requiring full time care;
- being 75% completed with college or trade school courses; or,
- A combination of surmountable barriers that must be documented.
to download an OWF Hardship Exemption form.
What is the Achieve More & Prosper Program (A.M.P.) – A CCMEP Initiative?
Customers who have exhausted their 36 months of eligibility and have not received OWF for two years may be eligible for an OWF Good Cause exemption if they have experienced a loss of employment/income due to no fault of their own, death, or other unique family circumstances.
to download a Good Cause Extension Review form.
The A.M.P. program connects Franklin county youth and young adults ages 16-24 with a case manager – your personal advocate – will work with you to build a customized plan for your future, while helping you address your current challenges. A.M.P. can connect you with services and assistance to help you gain the skills, employment or knowledge you need to get to your next level. All Youth and Young Adults age 18-24 in receipt of cash assistance are required to participate in the AMP program.
For more information, visit http://levelupwithAMP.com
or call 614-233-AMP1 (2671).