Even in the best of times, it can be a struggle for families to get food on the table. Securing access to SNAP benefits and to other food services can be an essential lifeline to help Ohioans remain safe and healthy in difficult times.
SNAP or food stamps
If you or your family need help paying for food, you may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is also called "food stamps." The SNAP program gives you money to pay for food.
The money comes on an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card called the Ohio Direction Card. It’s like a debit card you can use to buy groceries at participating stores. The amount of money depends on your income and family size.
To check your income eligibility, look at the table on this page. If one of your family members is a senior or has a disability, you may be eligible for SNAP even if your income is higher than the limit.
Interim Reporting for SNAP
Starting on July 1, 2022, ODJFS is reinstating interim reporting for most SNAP households. Interim reports are normally required 6 months after an application or recertification for SNAP. The reports have been waived during the pandemic until now.
Here's what you need to know:
- Make sure your address information is up-to-date with ODJFS and read your mail carefully. If your household needs to complete a report, you will get a notice from them in the mail that will include the report and the due date.
- Use the self-service portal to find out when your report is due and to update your address. You can use the Ohio Benefits Self-Service Portal to view your case notices. You can also use the Self-Service Portal to check if your contact information is up-to-date and update it with ODJFS if necessary. If you need help logging into your Self-Service Portal, you can call SNAP Outreach at any of these food banks for help.
- If you are required to submit a report, you can return your interim report by mail, in-person or through the Ohio Benefits Self-Service Portal. If you have no changes to report, you still need to turn in your report - just check the "No Changes" box.
How to apply for SNAP
To apply for SNAP:
- Gather your information. You need to know the Social Security numbers, birthdates, income and basic living expenses for yourself and each member of your household.
- Submit the application. Apply online at the Ohio Benefits website or call (844) 640-6446. Make your application as complete as possible. You can also submit the application for cash, food or medical assistance form to your county’s department of Job and Family Services (JFS). Go to “Government and Community Resources” on this page to find your local JFS. Your county may have more ways to help you apply.
- Follow up. JFS or the State of Ohio may contact you if they need more information. Check your mail and voice messages. Keep your contact information up to date. Let JFS know if you move or change your phone number.
- Go to the interview. You may be required to attend an interview in person or on the phone.
If your family includes children, seniors or people with disabilities, you may receive SNAP benefits as long as you need them. If you are an adult without children, you may have to meet employment requirements to receive SNAP.
If your SNAP application is denied, and you think it should be approved, contact legal aid for help.
Food help is also available for adults and families from local food banks.
Food help for families with children
These programs help families with children get enough food:
- Power Pack. Food banks work with schools to give students packs of healthy food to take home for the weekend. You can apply for a Power Pack through your local food bank.
- School Meals. Schoolchildren may be able to get free or reduced-price school meals, including breakfast, lunch or even dinner after school.
- Special Milk Program. If your child attends a school, preschool or day care that does not participate in the school meal program, they may be able to get free milk.
- Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). When school is out, children may be able to get free meals during the summer in some areas. Call (866) 348-6479 for more information.
- The Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) can help with healthy food, baby formula and free health screenings.
Food help for seniors and people with health conditions
These programs help seniors and people with certain medical conditions:
- Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). CSPF gives healthy foods to low-income people who are at least 60 years old. To apply, contact your local food bank.
- Meal Delivery. If you or someone in your home has a medical condition that makes it difficult to leave the house, you may be able to have meals delivered. Some meal delivery programs deliver to seniors only, but some deliver to anyone who is home-bound. To find meal delivery programs in your area, visit the Meals on Wheels website.
- Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program. If you are at least 60 years old, your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has a nutrition program that can help. Go to "Government and Community Resources" on this page to find contact information for your local AAA. Eligible adults can receive $50 worth of coupons to purchase locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Shared Meal Sites. Some community centers and other locations give meals to seniors on weekdays to promote nutrition and community. Also, you may be able to get free rides to shared meals or have them delivered. Check with your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) to find out what programs are available in your area. Go to "Government and Community Resources" on this page to find contact information for your local AAA.