Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF) in Ohio is a state-supervised, county-administered program that offers cash assistance to low-income families with children. If you are asking, “What is TANF?” you may have heard it being called “welfare” before. In Ohio, TANF goes by the name Ohio Works First (OWF) and was established to provide assistance to eligible families with children or those expecting children for a limited amount of time. During this time, capable adults in your family will be assisted with work opportunities, job training and other support services that can help your household reach financial self-sufficiency.
The TANF program is built around an emphasis on employment, two-parent households, personal responsibility and self-sufficiency. With this plan, Ohio uses resources from TANF to fund certain medical and child welfare services that can assist a family in moving on from government assistance. One of the primary aims of this program is to provide a beneficial mix of cash and non-cash assistance that can help a family reach financial independence.
Note: You can learn more about TANF by downloading our in-depth guide.
Who qualifies for TANF in Ohio?
In order to qualify to receive TANF benefits, a family must be living with at least one minor child or a woman who is at least six months pregnant. Furthermore, only parents or certain relatives of a minor child who live in the same household may receive cash assistance. Some examples of eligible relatives include a grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, first cousin, stepparent or stepsibling.
Temporary Absence Information
A member of the household who is temporarily absent can still be considered to be at home for TANF eligibility purposes. However, the following conditions must be met to be considered a temporary absence:
- The absent individual’s location is known.
- The absent individual has a definite plan to return home.
- The absent individual was a member of the applicant’s household prior to the absence.
Any beneficiary in the household who is absent for a period of 45 consecutive days will not be granted temporary absence for Ohio Works First. The only exceptions are for good causes, such as:
- Detention in a juvenile home
- Attendance at a school
- Vacations away from home
- Work trips for current or potential jobs
- Service in the military
- Removal of a child or children by the Public Children Services Agency
- Shared parenting circumstances
Ohio also uses an initial income test to determine whether a household meets TANF requirements for finances. This income test will calculate eligibility based on a household’s income and the number of people in the family. Ohio is one of a few states that has eliminated asset tests for TANF eligibility, instead focusing only on a family’s income.
Note: If applicants are a family or single individual with no minor children, non-U.S. citizens or unqualified aliens, fugitive felons or are convicted of fraud regarding TANF, they will be ineligible to receive benefits.
Learn more about qualifying for TANF by downloading our comprehensive guide.
How to Apply for TANF in Ohio
Currently, Ohio residents can submit a TANF application online or by submitting their application at a local County Department of Job and Family Services (CDJFS). Applications can be printed online and completed beforehand, or they can be filled out at the CDJFS office. Once submitted, the application process for all government assistance programs will begin. Afterwards, the country agency will schedule an interview date when they will conduct a telephone, office or home interview. During this interview process, applicants will share the circumstances of their household, employment and finances in order to verify eligibility and accommodate assistance on a case-by-case basis. Some items that may be required during for a TANF application include:
- Proof that applicants possess or have applied for a Social Security Number (SSN).
- Permanent Resident Card for non-U.S. citizens.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship for citizens.
- Proof of all income for a household.
- Most recent bank statements.
- Proof of identity.
- Proof of child/dependent care costs.
- Proof of any child support for children who do not live in the household.
Be aware that when it comes to TANF and child support, enrollees are typically expected to give up their rights to child support payments while receiving cash assistance. All or part of the payment will be used to reimburse the state for the cash assistance.
During the interview process, candidates for TANF benefits will have their work requirements established. Together with their case workers, they will determine required work activities and write and complete a Self-Sufficiency Contract and Plan.
How much cash assistance will I get in Ohio?
The amount of cash assistance from the TANF program distributed by Ohio varies depending on a family’s size, income and expenses. Therefore, it is difficult to create an accurate TANF benefits calculator. If you are wondering how much assistance you can receive, your best option is to complete the TANF application process for an accurate measure.
How long does it take to get TANF benefits in Ohio?
Typically, TANF benefits in Ohio are distributed after an application has been fully processed. The application process is usually completed within 30 days, so families can expect their cash assistance shortly afterward. If any member of the family does not meet the work requirements, their portion of the cash assistance will not be distributed. Families must work at least 20 to 35 hours per week (depending on their circumstances) in order to receive benefits.
How long can you receive TANF in Ohio?
Ohio aims to increase the self-sufficiency of low-income families, so they have established a time limit for receiving benefits from the TANF program. In Ohio, the time limit for assistance is 36 months. These 36 months are also counted toward the federal 60-month limit for cash assistance. Once the three year limit has ended, the assistance group will be ineligible unless approved for an extension of benefits, which can be granted for state hardship, federal hardship or a reason deemed to be a “good cause.”
How can I check my TANF status in Ohio?
In order to check the status of your TANF benefits, you will have to contact your local county Department of Human Services (DHS) or Ohio Benefit Bank site. You are more likely to find accurate and updated information if you check with the agency where you submitted your application.