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Cash Assistance

Overview

Ohio Works First, also known as cash assistance or Federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), is temporary assistance available to families to help pay for immediate needs while the adults of the family prepare and search for jobs. Ohio Works First is a work program. Families receive assistance by spending a minimum of 20 to 35 hours per week (depending on circumstances) working, in school, or in some cases, volunteering at a location that will help them gain work experience for the future. Adults who are unable to find a work or volunteer activity will work closely with their STEPS case manager to remove any remaining barriers to finding employment.

Benefits are distributed through the EPPIcard, which can be used like a debit card, or through direct deposit into the individual’s bank account. Families may be eligible for the program for up to 36 months, which may be non-consecutive. Ultimately, Ohio Works First allows families to work toward financial stability.

Do I Qualify?

Eligibility for Ohio Works First is based on the family’s income and the number of people living in the household. Minor children and women who are at least six months pregnant and in an approved living arrangement may also be eligible.

Typically, to qualify for cash assistance, a family must meet the “gross monthly income test”, which means that their monthly income (both earned and unearned) before taxes is below a certain level.

The best way to find out if you qualify is to apply.  There are certain individuals that are not eligible, including:

  • Fugitive felons.
  • Probation/parole violators.
  • Individuals convicted for fraudulent misstatement of residence in order to receive benefits.
  • Individuals that receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI or SSDI).
  • Families that receive adoption assistance payments or federal, state or local foster care maintenance payments.

Other individuals may also be ineligible, but are not included in the list above.

 

Resources

The Ohio EPPICard

Once families have been approved for cash assistance, they can receive monthly payments in two ways:

  • Through direct deposit into their bank account, or
  • On the Ohio EPPICard

HOW DOES THE CARD WORK?

The card looks similar to and works like a credit or debit card. Your payments are automatically loaded onto the card and can be used at MasterCard®, ATM and retailer locations in Ohio to make purchases or receive cash.

LEARN MORE

To find out more about the Ohio EPPIcard or to check your account balance, review your transaction history, report that you are moving, or report a lost or stolen card call, call, 1-866-320-8822 or visit the Ohio EPPICard website.

Work Requirements

Residents participating in Ohio Works First are required to meet a certain number of work or volunteer hours each week. Those who are unable to meet the requirements on their own, will be required to work closely with their Steps Toward Employment & Permanent Self Sufficiency (STEPS) case manager to remove any remaining barriers to employment.

Details can be found in the STEPS Program Packet.

Program Enrollment and Benefit Information

For complete information about cash, food and medical assistance, you may want to review the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Program Enrollment and Benefit Information booklet.

The booklet will inform you of the following:

  • What types of services ODJFS offers
  • Frequently asked questions about applying
  • The difference between various Medicaid programs and services
  • Your rights and responsibilities
  • Information about state hearings
  • Penalties for providing false information or committing fraud
  • How we use social security numbers
  • Information about citizenship and immigration status
  • Your civil rights
  • And other helpful resources

Non-Discrimation Statement

State Hearings

If you disagree with any action on your case or if you believe ACJFS has not taken an action it should have, you may request a hearing by phoning the ODJFS Consumer Access Line at 1-866-635-3748 or by emailing your request to [email protected] or contact Allen County directly at (419) 228-2621 or [email protected].

To find out more about state hearings, please review the state hearing section of the ODJFS Program Enrollment and Benefit Information document.

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