How to Apply for SNAP in Ohio
Some 9.5 million families benefit from the SNAP program across the US. If you are part of a low-income family unit, you know the many challenges you face to get by daily. It’s often difficult to find decent, affordable housing, pay your bills and still have enough food to feed your family.
Do you struggle to have enough money for food? Do you wish there was some help available for you? Wondering about the SNAP food assistance program and how to apply for SNAP benefits in the state of Ohio? Getting approved for SNAP may be just an application away.
Ohio SNAP benefits could help provide you with more food security and reduce some of your daily worries.
Read on to learn how to apply for SNAP benefits in Ohio and how those benefits can help you and your family.
What Is SNAP?
The SNAP program stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and is a federally funded food assistance program for low-income households. While the federal government provides the funding through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), individual states are responsible for handling the benefits.
The goals of the SNAP program are pretty simple. The Ohio SNAP program aims to:
- Raise nutritional levels for those who are suffering from food scarcity
- Expand buying power for low-income residents
- Safeguard the health and well-being of individuals in need
If you are a person who has regularly struggled with food insecurity and how to feed your family at dinner time, the Ohio SNAP program could provide the assistance you need.
Programs like SNAP are so needed when some 42 million people each year take advantage of getting benefits.
Who Is Eligible for Ohio SNAP Benefits?
There are a few things you need to know about eligibility for the Ohio SNAP assistance. First, you must be a resident living in the state of Ohio.
You must also meet one of the below criteria for eligibility:
- Current resources valued at $2,250 or less (savings and checking combined)
- Current resources valued at $3,500 or less (including savings and checking combined)
- Share your household with a person or persons age 60 and over or a person with a disability.
Eligibility is also based on income for the household. The household consists of any person who lives and eats at the applying address. Note, income is based on your before-tax rate. It also includes all sources of income from the household. More on income restrictions later.
It’s worth noting that while they look at income, they will not likely consider other resources. Assets like your home, car, or even possibly certain retirement accounts you can’t access for cash are usually not considered for eligibility.
If you already receive benefits from other Ohio assistance programs like Public or General Assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you may automatically be eligible for the Ohio SNAP assistance program.
Applying for SNAP Benefits
There are several ways you can go about applying for SNAP benefits in Ohio.
First, you can visit the Ohio Benefits website and fill out an application. The application would be for food assistance benefits.
There is also a form called the “Request for Cash, Food and Medical Assistance” (JFS 7200) form. You can fill this form out and submit it online. You can also visit your local DHS office or county clerk, where they’ll have paper copies to complete if you don’t want to do it online.
Not sure where your local county office is located? You can visit jfs.ohio.gov/County for location information.
Another resource to consider is the local Ohio Benefit Bank site. They can help you complete the application for SNAP benefits. They also have access to other resources for food for low-income households.
Do I Need to Be a US Citizen to Apply?
The Ohio SNAP program is available for US citizens who meet the already explained eligibility requirements.
If you are not a US citizen, you can still apply. You or a member of your household has to meet the following guidelines for legal immigrants:
- Be a child under the age of 18, no matter how you entered the US
- Have eligibility status for a disability, no matter how you entered the US
- Been living in the US for 5 years or longer legally and have documentation to show it
If you or any member of your household meets any of the above criteria, you are eligible to apply for benefits. Then they would look at your application to see if you meet the other eligibility requirements.
What Documents Will You Need for Application Verification?
Once you complete your application, you will get asked to verify the information. You will need to verify the number of people who actually live in your household. You could use the following documents to show this:
- Tax returns
- School records
- Clinic cards or hospital records
- Medicaid cards
- Statement from a non-related landlord
You will need to prove you live at the address you provided on your application. You can do this using a current rent receipt or use a copy of your lease. You could also use a recent utility bill that has your name printed on it. The statement from a non-relative landlord (see above) works too.
If you own your home, you can show mortgage records or a copy of your tax bill with your name and address.
When your application gets reviewed, you will have to show records related to your monthly expenses. These records might include:
- Current utility bills with your name on them
- Rent receipts
- Income tax return
- Mortgage records
- Credit card receipts
- Bank statements
- Store receipts
- Home care bills
- Bankruptcy documents
Many families find they need SNAP benefits because of medical bills. You may be asked to show hospital records and bills and home care bills. You could use insurance bills and medical statements too. You can also show receipts for prescription drugs if this takes a large portion of your monthly income.
You will also be asked to provide proof of identity. This can be done using any of the following:
- Birth certificate
- Driver’s license
- State issued non-driver’s I.D. card
- Marriage certificate with the date of birth
- Immigration or naturalization certificate
- Medicaid card
- U.S. passport
Remember, eligibility for SNAP assistance is based on income. You will also need to provide income verification. You could use:
- Pay stubs from your current employer
- Letter from your employer with wage information
- Income tax returns
- Current unemployment checks
- Bank statements
- Credit union records
- Family court records
- Social security benefits statement
- Veterans Administration benefits check
The state will want to be aware of all sources of income. You may get asked to show stock or bond certificates, life insurance policies, burial records, or trust fund agreements if they apply to you.
If you receive alimony money, child support money, or other court-ordered funds, they will also be considered for eligibility as they are considered income sources.
SNAP Benefits and How to Use Them
Once you’re approved for benefits, the State of Ohio will issue you a special debit card (called a Direction Card/EBT). This card can be used at most places that sell food items. It works the same way a debit card from your bank will work. Each time you use the card, it subtracts the amount you spend from your balance.
The card will come with a pre-loaded amount of benefits based on your eligibility. The state will then reload additional funds electronically each month, so you always have access to your funds. You can keep up to date with your account balance by monitoring your online account too.
You can use your SNAP benefits to buy food items, seeds to grow foods, and plants. SNAP funds can be used for baby formula and also baby food. You may not use your SNAP benefits for certain items like:
- Pet food
- Fast food
The card can be used for programs like Meals on Wheels too. When you buy food using the card from this program, the amount gets subtracted from your available balance the same way it would at a food store.
Learn How to Apply for SNAP Benefits in the State of Ohio
Making ends meet on a day-to-day basis can be a real struggle for most low-income families. Facing food insecurity is a genuine reality for many parents and children in Ohio and across the US.
Learning how to apply for SNAP benefits in the state of Ohio can get you one step closer to having the food assistance you and your family so desperately need.
talk, text, and data to qualifying recipients.