Cash : Cash Assistance

What is Cash Assistance?

Cash Assistance is time limited cash assistance given to families in times of need.

In Ohio, cash assistance is only available for 36 consecutive months and there are work requirements attached to it.

The most common questions in this topic are how do I apply for cash assistance, what happens if I am denied cash assistance and what happens if I am sanctioned from cash assistance.

How can I apply for cash assistance?

Applications for Cash Assistance can be done online and at the County Department of Job and Family Services. Find your local job and family office now.

You could be eligible for Cash Assistance if you are a low income family (as defined by the government).

To qualify for cash assistance, you must:

  • have a minor child who lives with you, or you must be a pregnant woman.
  • Income amounts change frequently.  For example, a family of 4 can have a take home income of $861 a month and still qualify for cash assistance. The maximum monthly amount for a family of four is $507.
  • If you think you might qualify, you may want to check on a benefits checker to see what you may be entitled to. A quick check can be done at www.thebenefitbank.com.
  • If you are in need of emergency, one time assistance, you may also want to read about the PRC program.

What if I am denied cash assistance?

If you believe you are eligible for cash assistance but you are denied, you have several options to try and resolve the problem.

  • One is to ask for a county conference, which is an informal meeting with your caseworker, their supervisor and you. You can bring someone along with you to help explain your case or even just for moral support. At the county conference, you get to say why you think the action your caseworker took was wrong. The caseworker explains why they took that action. You try and work out a fair agreement.
  • A second option is to ask for a state hearing, which is a more formal process. The caseworker and their supervisor will be there and you can still bring someone to help you, but this time there will also be a hearing officer. The hearing officer will ask questions of everyone there. You can bring a witness to this hearing if you think it is important for your case. After the hearing, the hearing officer will mail a decision.

Often times it is best to ask for both a state hearing and a county conference. The county conference will happen before the hearing. If you are able to come up with an agreement at the county conference, you can cancel the state hearing.

If you can’t resolve it at the county conference, you can go forward with the state hearing (you haven’t given up any rights). Whichever option you choose, be prepared to tell your side of the story and why you think their decision was wrong.

What if sanctions are made against me?

When you sign up for cash assistance, you also sign a "self-sufficiency contract" which details what your responsibilities are and what you agree to do in exchange for the cash assistance.

If you do not do what you agreed to do, you can be "sanctioned". A sanction means that you will stop receiving the cash assistance.

The first time you do not fulfill your requirements, your family will lose their cash assistance for one month, the next time, they will lose it for 3 months and the last time they will lose the cash for 6 months.

Sometimes you have a good reason for not doing what you agreed to do– maybe you couldn’t get to your work assignment because your car broke down, or maybe you were caring for a sick child. If you have a good reason, you should tell your case worker. If they still sanction you, you should appeal that decision. You can use the same procedure as what is explained above in the denial section.

What is the difference between OWF and welfare?

There is no difference between OWF and welfare.

Ohio has one program offered through the government that offers ongoing cash assistance to Ohio’s non-disabled needy families. This program is called by many names, Ohio’s program is officially called "Ohio Works First" or OWF.

The federal program is called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families or TANF, many people will colloquially call it "welfare" or "cash assistance" but it is all the same program.

Who is eligible for cash assistance?

You are eligible for Cash Assistance if you are a low income family (as defined by the government). To qualify for cash assistance, you must:

  • have a minor child who lives with you, or you must be a pregnant woman.
  • Income amounts change frequently, but in June 2007, a family of 4 can have a take home income of $861 a month and still qualify for cash assistance.

How much cash assistance can my family get?

The amount of assistance a family can get depend on the size of the household.

The maximum amounts are on the chart below.

There is no limit on the number of people in an assistance group so for families with more than 6 individuals, you would add an additional amount for each additional person.

Assistance Group Size

Maximum OWF allotment

1

$245

2

$336

3

$410

4

$507

5

$593

6

$660

My children have been temporarily removed from my home, can I still get OWF cash assistance?

Yes, if there is a reunification plan for the children to come back to your household, you can continue receiving cash assistance for up to 6 payment months after the removal date.

I am getting an inheritance, what should I do to keep getting my benefits?

If you are receiving public benefits, you can only keep a certain amount of money in your bank account and still get benefits.

The amount of money is called a "resource". Different programs have different amounts of resources that a client can have and continue getting benefits. There is no resource limit for Ohio Works First, but you will need to report the money when it comes in as income.

If you are on any other public benefit’s programs (SSI, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Cash Assistance, etc), you should make sure you comply with that program’s resource limits as well.

What counts as the application date for OWF?

This is an important question because the date of application starts the clock ticking on how quickly the agency needs to act on the application for benefits.

The date of application is when the application is signed, dated, and turned in to the agency. It doesn’t need to be completely filled out, just signed and dated. This means that if you don’t have all of their information, you should still turn in the incomplete application to get your benefits in the shortest amount of time possible.

See also the Forms & Education tab in this section for more information.

The information in this site is not intended as legal advice.
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