Ohio Works First is the financial assistance portion of the state's Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, which provides cash benefits to needy families for up to 36 months.
Families with children that meet a "gross monthly income test" may be eligible. Gross monthly income includes unearned income - for example, Social Security benefits - and earned income - such as payment for work before taxes. Since July 1, 2019, the gross monthly income limit for a family of three has been $889. This typically increases annually. If a family member works and pays for child care, the cost of child care may be deducted. Resources such as a car or home ownership are not considered in determining eligibility.
Assistance groups are not eligible if they include an individual who:
Other individuals who are not eligible include:
In 2019, an Ohio Works First payment for a family of three is $497. Benefits are issued through either the Ohio Pathway card, which is a pre-paid debit MasterCard, or deposited directly into a checking or savings account. The Ohio Pathway card can be used at MasterCard member banks, ATMs and any retailers that accept MasterCard.
You may apply for Ohio Works First online by filling out the "Request for Cash, Food and Medical Assistance" (JFS 7200) form and submitting it to your county agency.
If necessary, you can get the form at your county agency. Once completed return the form to our office.
You also may file the application through your local Ohio Benefit Bank site. You can find the site nearest you and get more information at ohiobenefits.org. The Ohio Benefit Bank helps low-and moderate-income Ohioans apply for public benefits such as Ohio Works First.
Be sure to get the "Your Rights" JFS 8000 brochure from your county agency or at the link below. This brochure will give you information about how to apply for many other types of benefits, such as food assistance. You can also ask for the "Program Enrollment and Benefit Information" JFS 07501 brochures, which provides additional information.