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Public Benefits: What should I know about SNAP (food stamp) Benefits during COVID-19?



Are Job and Family Services (JFS) buildings open?

No. JFS lobbies are closed to the public, but agencies are still working. You should apply for benefits online at benefits.ohio.gov or call 844-640-6446.

How do I apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Payments (SNAP), also known as food stamps?

Call Ohio Benefits at 844-640-6446 or go to benefits.ohio.gov. You can also contact the Greater Cleveland Food Bank at 216-738-2067.  For more info about applying for SNAP, visit https://www.greaterclevelandfoodbank.org/get-help/apply-for-help/.

How will Job and Family Services verify my information?

Job and Family Services (JFS) will try to verify eligibility requirements such as income through an electronic data source whenever possible. If they are not able to verify, they should accept what you tell them. They may ask you to provide certain necessary documentation. Most counties have a drop box where you can leave documents, or you can ask them to mail you a prepaid envelope.

If you are a resident of Cuyahoga County, you can also send your verifications as an email attachment to jfs-cuyahoga-mipc@jfs.ohio.gov.

If you are a resident of Lorain County, you can also send your verifications as an email attachment to LorainJFS@jfs.ohio.gov.

Can I use my SNAP funds to pay for cleaning supplies or online groceries?

No. Unfortunately, at this time, there are no changes that would allow SNAP funds to be used to pay for cleaning supplies or online groceries. You can call your local grocery store to ask if they will accept EBT cards for curbside pickup.

I’m supposed to work in order to get food stamps. Have work and training requirements for food stamps changed since the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes. The federal government has suspended work and training requirements for food stamps starting April 2020 until one month after the national public health emergency is declared over.

I heard people are supposed to get extra benefits because of COVID-19. Is that true? What do I need to do?

For several months, the federal government has allowed Ohio to give all households the maximum benefit amount. If your household doesn’t already get the maximum amount for your household size, you will get an “emergency allotment” for each month. You do not need to apply for this extra benefit. The emergency allotment will be issued to your EBT card at a different time than your regular benefit. If you have questions about your benefit amount, you can call Ohio Benefits at 844-640-6446. The federal government approves the emergency allotments on a month-by-month basis, so this is subject to change.

Will getting the Advance Child Tax Credit affect my eligibility for benefits like SNAP, Medicaid, cash assistance, or Social Security?

No. The Advance Child Tax Credit will not count as income for the purposes of public benefits. If you still have those funds saved after more than 12 months, however, they could count as a resource.

 

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