Temporary Assistance for Needy Families replaced Aid to Families With Dependent Children in 1996. TANF is a federal block grant program, administered by each state, that provides assistance to low-income families. In Ohio, each county administers its own program but must follow state and federal guidelines. TANF provides assistance with cash and food, as well as medical benefits. Ohio also sets stringent work requirements for families receiving TANF aid.
Ohio’s cash assistance program is known as Ohio Works First. You must have earned income and meet an income eligibility test. As of August 2013, your total gross income from earned and unearned sources must not exceed $773 per month for a family of three, and the amount increases based on the number of children in the household. Actual verified child care costs are deducted from this total. The amount you can earn increases each year. If you receive Supplemental Security Income or payments for adoption assistance or foster care, you are not eligible. Payment is $450 per month for a family of three, as of August 2013. Benefits typically last for 36 months, although extensions are available.
Known nationally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and in Ohio as the Food Assistance Program, this program replaces the older Food Stamp Program. Ohio eligibility requirements state that your household income can be no more than 130 percent of the federal poverty line. This limitation may not apply to households with an elderly or disabled member. The amount of assistance depends on many factors, including your household size, housing costs, medical expenses and child care payments. The Food Assistance Program does not cover medicines, vitamins, hot prepared foods, tobacco, alcohol or non-food items.
Ohio Medicaid includes several programs that provide medical benefits to people in different situations. Healthy Start and Healthy Families covers low-income families, children and pregnant women. Older Adults & People With Disabilities is designed for those age 65 and above as well as disabled people of any age. The Medicare Premium Assistance Program covers premiums and co-pays for people on Medicare. The Medicaid Buy-In for Workers With Disabilities provides low-cost health insurance for working people under age 65 who are disabled. Each program sets a maximum monthly income requirement to qualify, but numerous deductions reduce many families’ countable income.
All non-disabled adults are required to participate in work activities to receive benefits. Single parents must participate for at least 30 hours per week, while couples must participate for 35-55 hours per week, depending on their individual situation. Work activities include vocational training, job skills training, community service and providing child care for others performing community service, as well as traditional employment. Up to four consecutive weeks, and six weeks total, may be dedicated to job seeking. You might also be required to sign a self-sufficiency contract that details your job goals and plan for meeting those goals.