What is Ohio Works First (OWF)?

OWF is a cash assistance payment program. All adults must meet the work requirement set forth by the federal government. OWF work programs emphasize employment, training, education, and support services.

Why did Ohio choose the 36-month time limit instead of the 60 months as other states?

This was a legislative decision. Ohio still has the 60-month time limit in a lifetime even though it chose the 36-month time limit initially. After 24 months, the assistance group may reapply for the additional 24 months of OWF cash and be eligible if they meet the Good Cause criteria. A Hardship may be granted after the 36-month limit is met.

Will I receive any benefits after the 36-month time limit?

Yes, only the cash portion of your case will be closed. You may be eligible to continue to receive medical, food assistance, child care, and transportation.

What is a "hardship exemption" and how do I qualify?

A hardship is only a means by which a County can extend a client's OWF Cash benefits beyond the 36-month time limit. According to Section 5107.18(E) of the Ohio Revised Code, each county is responsible for establishing its own hardship criteria. In Summit County, clients will be notified at least forty-five days prior to the anticipated expiration of their cash assistance that they may apply for a hardship and outline the hardship criteria.

When applying for OWF, am I required to submit the same type of documentation?

Yes, because eligibility has not changed. You will still need to provide documentation as to income, residency, and citizenship. You are also required to complete a self-sufficiency contract which specifies the client's responsibility to participate in activities aimed at achieving self-sufficiency; cooperate with Child Support Enforcement efforts; cooperate with public Children Services Agency when required; report all household changes in circumstances; accept all reasonable offers of employment and maintain employment unless good cause exists.

Why do I have to come in again for a reapplication interview once I have been approved for assistance?

Most assistance group need to complete reapplications once a year in order to continue receiving benefits. Reapplications can also happen after four, five, six or twenty-four months depending on the assistance groups circumstances. At the reapplication, you may be required to verify current expenses, employment and all other changes to your household.

If I fail to keep my reapplication appointment, what happens to my case?

Your case is closed, unless you contact the agency regarding the reason for your failure to keep the appointment and to reschedule your appointment to continue to receive assistance.

If my child is under 18 and in school, are his or her earnings excluded?

If the child is under 18 and in school, the earnings are excluded. If the child is not in school, excluding summer breaks, all earned income will be included when determining eligibility.

If my child is 18 years old with his/her own child in my household and I am not on assistance, can they receive food assistance on their own?

No. If the child is under 22 years of age and living with a parent, they must all eat, purchase, and prepare food as a family. Therefore, if food assistance is requested, all family member income must be counted to determine food assistance eligibility.

What do I do if my Ohio Direction card is lost/stolen and how do I get another one?

First, you should call the Ohio Direction Card Help Line at 1-866-386-3071 to report the lost/stolen card. The Help Line will give you instructions on what to do to get a replacement card.

What services are provided under HealthChek for my teenager?

Teenagers receive screening as other children. These screenings are important to detect hidden teen health problems, like diabetes, to provide missed childhood shots, and especially to test teens that are Black, Hispanic or of Mediterranean background for sickle cell anemia.

How do I request a hearing if I disagree with the action taken on my case?

Contact the local Hearing Office by phone. Send a request in writing to the local Agency or to the State. Return Prior Notice of Adverse Action and check request for state hearing, sign and date, and return to County or the State.

Will I continue to receive the same amount of benefits if I request a hearing?

Yes, if you request a hearing within fifteen (15) days from the date the Prior Notice of Adverse Action was mailed.

How do I report someone I believe is committing welfare fraud?

In Summit County, you may call, anonymously, the Fraud Investigation Unit at 330-643-7315, or send a letter to the attention of the Fraud Investigation Unit at 1180 S. Main Street, Suite 102, Akron, Ohio 44301-1256.

What is the proper procedure for a client to obtain verifications from a case record?

Contact the Department in writing or in person indicating the specific documents you need. If request is made in person, you will need to bring with you two forms of identification. If the request is in writing, you must specifically authorize the Agency to release the information and copy of a recent photo. There may be a waiting period of up to 24 hours for copies of verifications from your case record.

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