While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the LIHEAP program and compiled a guide and the following answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing useful information on the process.
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The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides financial assistance to low-income families. The goal of TANF is to help families become financially self-sufficient. States and U.S. Territories receive block grants from the federal government, which are used to fund each state and territory’s specific TANF program.
Learn more about the TANF program and its primary purposes here.
In Ohio, the TANF program is also known as Ohio Work First (OWF). To learn more about OWF and the assistance benefits it provides, visit the OWF website here.
Ohio Work First (OWF) provides temporary assistance to financially support families in need. The OWF program also provides eligible families with work preparation services to help them re-enter the workforce or find more stable employment.
For more information on the services the OWF program provides to participating families, review the Ohio TANF Fact Sheet found here.
OWF and Food Assistance are both assistance programs administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. While Food Assistance benefits can only be used to purchase foods that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, OWF benefits are money that can be used however the participant sees fit, with some restrictions.
Both OWF and Food Assistance benefits can be given to participants on an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. However, OWF benefits can be transferred directly into a participant’s bank account or withdrawn from an approved ATM. Food Assistance benefits cannot.
Many OWF participants also qualify for Food Assistance due to the low-income requirement of both programs. For more information about Food Assistance, click here.
To apply for Food Assistance and/or OWF, visit the Ohio Benefit Portal here.
If you have questions about OWF or Food Assistance, call the Department Job and Family Services at (866) 244-0071.
The exact benefit amount a family will receive each month will depend on their household income, size and resources.
Eligible families can receive an average of $203.58 per month. Families can receive these benefits for up to 24 months throughout their lifetime.
Learn more information about OWF and benefit amounts in Ohio here.
To qualify for OWF in Ohio, you must meet the following requirements:
Learn more about income requirements and work and training requirements here.
Caretakers of children who cannot be taken care of by their immediate family may also qualify for benefits under the Caretaker Relative Grant or Child-Only OWF Grant. This grant takes into consideration the situation of emergency caregivers and will only count the resources and the income of the child (if any) and not those of the caretaker.
To learn more about who can receive OWF benefits, click here.
Before you apply for Temporary Assistance for Families in Ohio, complete the following three steps:
Learn about the OWF eligibility requirements here.
Find a list of what you need to apply on page 2 of the application here.
To apply for OWF online, create an account on Ohio’s Assistance Portal here and fill out the virtual application form.
To apply for OWF in person, click here to find the nearest Ohio county agency office location.
To apply for OWF by mail, fill out the Application for Assistance here and send it with copies of your necessary documents to your local county agency. You can find the nearest agency to you here.
If you have any further questions about the application process, call the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services at (866) 244-0071.
Depending on your method of application, you can check your application status in the following ways:
If you applied for OWF online, in person or by mail, you should receive a notice in the mail from the Department of Job and Family Services within 30 days of receiving your application with your determination, your benefit amount and how you will be receiving the benefits, if you are eligible.
If you have a valid bank account listed on your application, your OWF benefits will be deposited within 14 days of when you receive your determination letter. Otherwise, you will receive an EBT card in the mail within 14 days.
Once you receive your benefits, you can use them to support your family as you see fit, while following the restrictions.
Note that if you receive an EBT card, you will only be allowed to purchase items at stores that display the Quest Logo, and you can only withdraw cash from ATMs that display the Quest Logo.
Learn more information about how to use your EBT card and how benefits will be distributed here.
If you require additional assistance or have questions about your determination call (866) 244-0071.
If you do not agree with the OWF benefit decision given to you by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, you can appeal your decision in person or by mail within 90 days of receiving your determination letter.
When you are denied benefits, you will receive a State Hearing Request Form along with your denial letter.
To file an appeal and request a hearing by mail, fill out your State Hearing Request form and submit it to the following address:
ODJFS Bureau of State Hearings
P.O. Box 182825
Columbus, Ohio 43218-2825
To appeal by fax, send the request filled out completely to (614) 728-9574.
To request a hearing by phone, you can call the state’s consumer assistance line at (866) 635-3748. Just be sure to have your denial letter and hearing request on hand for reference.
To appeal by email, send your request to email@example.com with the subject line “State Hearing Request” Be sure to have your denial letter and hearing request on hand for reference.
You can also file a hearing request online here.
If you are filing online, by phone or by email, remember to have the following information on hand:
For more information about the appeals and hearing process, click here.
For help with obtaining Temporary Assistance for Families in Ohio, or for any further questions about your application, call the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services at (866) 244-0071.
If you wish to send the department information from out of the state of Ohio, fax your documents to (614) 466-1767 or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For general information about TANF or other family assistance programs, you can also call (614) 466-4815.
You can also visit or call a local county agency office for further assistance. Find your nearest location here.
Offices and services are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and compiled a guide and these answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing useful information on the process.
Our free TANF Guide is filled with helpful information about how to apply, program eligibility requirements and how to get in touch with local offices. You can view or download our free guide here.