Food stamps eligibility in Ohio is determined by the Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS). This program is federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Locally, it is also known as the Ohio Food Assistance Program. Your SNAP eligibility is based on several different factors, including your income, citizenship, household composition and, in some cases, your employment status.
Using a SNAP calculator can help you determine if you are qualified for assistance. You can also simply follow the application steps to learn if you are eligible. The ODFJS considers every factor about your situation to determine your eligibility when you apply. Therefore, it is in your best interest to file an application even if you are unsure about whether you qualify. Read below to learn more about meeting the food stamp qualifications in Ohio and discover what factors may affect your ability to keep getting benefits in the future.
Citizenship and Residency Requirements for SNAP in Ohio
Before you can qualify for food stamps based on different factors, you must meet a few basic requirements. First, you need to be a resident of Ohio in order to get assistance from the ODJFS. If you meet the other program requirements but are not a resident, you may find that you are eligible for help in your home state. This is because the food stamp qualifications are similar in each state.
Second, you must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident. If you do not have proof of citizenship or legal presence, you cannot get benefits. If your household has a mix of legal and non-legal residents, you might still qualify for a portion of assistance. For example, children who were born in the U.S. may qualify for food stamps even if their parents are not U.S. citizens. In such cases, the amount of assistance you get is based on the number of people who are in the U.S. legally.
It is important to keep in mind that people who are ineligible for assistance may still count as members of your household. Individuals who live together and share meals, regardless of their relationship to one another, are considered a household. If one of your household members is not eligible for assistance, you still need to count his or her resources and income contributions to the rest of the household. This may affect your SNAP eligibility overall.
What are the SNAP income guidelines in Ohio?
Meeting the food stamp income guidelines is the next requirement. Under the Ohio SNAP guidelines, you must have a limited amount of income and resources in order to qualify. In order to qualify, your income generally must be at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). Moreover, the total value of your resources must fall below a certain amount based on your age and disability status.
Total income includes anything you earn from work or other sources. A resource, on the other hand, is something with monetary value. Resources, which sometimes are referred to as assets, can include:
- Bank accounts.
- Savings bonds.
- Cash on hand.
According to the income requirements for food stamps, assets such as your home, vehicle and personal possessions are typically not counted as resources. In any case, the amount of resources you are allowed to have is based on your circumstances. As a general rule, you are typically allowed to qualify for food stamps with a higher amount of income or resources if you are elderly or have a disability.
When considering the SNAP income guidelines 2019, it is also important to look at deductions you may qualify for. All households are allowed to take a standard deduction that automatically lowers the amount of income that the ODJFS considers. Depending on your circumstances, deductions may also be allowed for the following things:
- Outgoing child support payments.
- The cost of child care.
- Excess medical expenses not covered by insurance.
- Shelter or utility costs that exceed a certain amount.
Learn more about the income and resource requirements you may need to meet by downloading our free guide.
Other Important Food Stamps Qualifications in Ohio
In order to qualify for food stamps, you must have a Social Security Number (SSN). Each person in your household needs to have an SSN if they wish to receive benefits. The only situation in which you can get benefits without an SSN is if you have applied for your number and it has not been assigned yet.
Keep in mind that anyone in your household without an SSN cannot get benefits. However, remember that you must still count each member of your household when considering your income and resources. This can include people who do not qualify for assistance themselves.
Your food stamps eligibility may also depend on whether you can meet certain work requirements. If you are between 18 and 59 years of age, you can only receive benefits for three months within a three-year period unless you register for work. This means that you agree to do any of the following:
- Take reasonable job offers.
- Not quitting a job without good cause.
- Maintain a certain number of work hours per week.
- Participate in employment training.
Your Ohio food stamps eligibility is usually not based on your employment status if you are elderly, disabled, pregnant or raising dependents. If you are currently working, you may already meet these requirements without needing to do anything else.
How do you maintain your food stamps in Ohio?
After learning how to qualify for food stamps, it also helps to know how to keep your eligibility. Your Ohio SNAP eligibility may change over time. For example, you might lose your benefits if your income goes up significantly. Your eligibility will be reviewed periodically when you renew your benefits.
In order to maintain your food stamp qualifications, it is also important that you follow all of the program rules. For example, you must report new information to the ODJFS as required. Misusing your benefits or committing any program violations may put your eligibility at risk as well. Learn more about keeping your food stamps by downloading our free guide.