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What you need to know about Public Benefits during COVID-19

Posted December 16, 2021
10:05 am

If you currently receive Medicaid, you are covered until the national public health emergency ends. The public health emergency will probably continue through the end of the year. When the public health emergency ends, Medicaid will re-determine your eligibility. At that time, your coverage may end if you no longer qualify.

If you receive food stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and are under 50 without dependents (Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents), SNAP employment and training (E&T) requirements continue. You will be asked to complete a work and training assessment after you apply for SNAP. You can now complete the assessment by phone at 1.844.640.6446. Ohio increased SNAP benefits for many households during the pandemic with emergency additions. When the public health emergency ends, your monthly SNAP amount may change based on eligibility requirements.

If you have children who were eligible for free or reduced lunches, Ohio approved the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) Program. Your eligible school-age children will receive P-EBT through Summer 2021. You should receive your final payment by the end of July 2021. Your P-EBT benefits will be available on your card for 12 months. If you receive SNAP benefits, the P-EBT benefits are added to your Ohio Direction card. If you do not receive SNAP benefits, you got a P-EBT card in the mail for each child in the household.

What action should you take? What should you lookout for? Read all notices sent by agencies, such as your County Department of Job and family Services, the Social Security Administration, and the Ohio Department of Medicaid. Contact the agency with any questions you have about the notices.

If you receive Medicaid or SNAP benefits, contact your local County Department of Job and Family Services to report changes in household size, income, and expenses. Changes to your expenses may include changes in rent or mortgage payments, utilities, medical expenses, childcare expenses, and child support payments. You can determine your eligibility for Medicaid or SNAP by calling Ohio Benefits at 1.844.640.6446 or visit their website at

If you receive P-EBT benefits or think you should receive them, contact Ohio Department of Job and Family Services hotline at 1.866-244.0071. You can also call the hotline if you have moved or need a replacement card. More information about P-EBT can be found at

If you think there is a problem with your public benefits, you can apply to The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland for help online ( or by calling 1.888.817.3777 during most business hours.

Written by Molly Schmidt

This article was published in Legal Aid's newsletter, "The Alert" Volume 37, Issue 1, in Fall 2021. See full issue at this link: “The Alert” – Volume 37, Issue 1 – Legal Aid Society of Cleveland (

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