Health and Public Benefits

SNAP and food assistance

If you or your family can't afford enough food, you may be eligible for help. Learn more about Ohio’s free and low-cost food help programs including SNAP (also called "food stamps"). 

A note on COVID-19: The State of Ohio has taken steps to prevent Ohioans who participate in SNAP from losing SNAP benefits due to expiration or redetermination. This means that SNAP benefits scheduled to expire in March, April and May 2020 will be extended six months until September, October and November 2020. 

On May 12, 2020, it was announced that about 850,000 Ohio children who receive free or reduced-price meals at school will soon receive money to buy food through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. The P-EBT benefits may be added to the Ohio Direction cards of families that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Families that do not receive SNAP benefits will be sent P-EBT cards with the one-time benefit added. No application is needed.

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Understanding the Basics

See what you need to know to take action.

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 like a debit card. The amount of money depends on your income and family size.

To check your income eligibility, look at this chart. 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.

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. Submit the application for cash, food or medical assistance form to your county’s Department of Job and Family Services. Apply in-person or online at the ODJFS website.
  • 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. Check the Ohio Department of Education's clickable map to see if your county is participating, and where to apply. 
  • 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 interactive map. 
  • Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program. If you are at least 60 years old, your local Area Office on Aging has a nutrition program that can help. 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 Office on Aging to find out what programs are available in your area.

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