Ohio Works First (OWF)

Ohio Works First (OWF) is the financial assistance portion of Ohio’s TANF program. OWF was established to provide cash assistance to eligible, needy families.

Applicants are required to participate in work activities for the required number of hours every month that you are on assistance. Failure to do so without good cause can result in termination of benefits.

OWF cash benefit is limited to 36 months for families with minor children or pregnant women. Minor children living with guardians other than their parents may be eligible for “child-only” assistance, with no time limit.

Each county may set its own hardship exemptions that would allow families to remain on OWF for a longer period of time.


Who is eligible for TANF in Ohio? #

In order to be eligible for TANF in Ohio, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
  2. Be a resident of the state of Ohio.
  3. Be unemployed or under employed (working for very low wages).
  4. Be pregnant or have a child under age 19.
  5. Meet income limit guidelines.

What is the income limit for cash assistance in Ohio? #

In Ohio, eligibility for cash assistance is limited to needy families with gross countable income less than or equal to 50 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of three, the current income limit is $1,036 per month.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $608
  • 2 $822
  • 3 $1,036
  • 4 $1,250
  • 5 $1,464
  • 6 $1,678
  • 7 $1,893
  • 8 $2,107

How much cash assistance will I get for a family of 3 in Ohio? #

How much does Ohio cash assistance pay largely depends upon your family’s income and size. Currently, the OWF benefit for a family of three with little or no income is $542 per month.

Benefits are issued through either the Ohio PATHWAY card or deposited directly into into a checking or savings account.

How do I apply for cash assistance in Ohio? #

You may apply for Ohio Works First online by going to Ohio Benefits or by completing the “Request for Cash, Food and Medical Assistance” (JFS 7200) form and submitting it to your county agency.

As part of the application process, you must complete a face-to-face interview. The county will schedule that interview after you complete the initial application.

How long does it take to get cash assistance approved in Ohio? #

Eligibility determination will be made usually within 30 days from the date an application is received. Turnaround times may vary depending on the facts of your case and the time it take to verify your income.

How long can I receive cash assistance in Ohio? #

The state of Ohio allows you to be on cash assistance for 36 months (3 years). After your 36 months have elapsed, you will be ineligible for cash benefits for 24 months.

Refugees may be eligible for the Refugee Cash Assistance and Refugee Medical Assistance programs for the first eight months after they arrive.

For more information about Refugee Services Program, call
(614) 466-4815

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