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175 Race Street, P.O. Box 191,
Middleport, Ohio 45760
740-992-2117 or 1-800-992-2608
Cash and Food Assistance
(formerly known as Unison)
The Food Stamp Program is a federal program funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered by the county Department of Job and Family Services. Officially named the Food Assistance program in Ohio and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) at the federal level, the program is designed to help low-income people buy the food they need for good health.
The basic rules for food stamp eligibility are the same from state to state. The amount of food stamps you can receive is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Thrifty Food Plan, which is an estimate of how much it costs to provide a household nutritious, low-cost meals.
You may be eligible for food stamps if you:
* work for low wages
Ohio Works First Cash Assistance
The Ohio Works First (OWF) cash assistance program is a product of House Bill 408, passed by the Ohio Legislature and put into effect on October 1, 1997, as a reform measure shifting the 60-year old welfare system from an entitlement to one of work. OWF replaced the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) Program and directed much of the responsibility for solving welfare dependency to the local Boards of County Commissioners. As a result, each county was charged with developing a Community Plan with goals for moving people from welfare roles to employment.
The guiding principles of Ohio Works First are:
*· Personal responsibility – Individuals and families must have the opportunity to succeed on their own. Self-sufficiency comes only when people make their own decisions and take responsibility for their future.
* Community involvement – Communities must have the flexibility to design and deliver services that meet local needs.
* Problem prevention – Communities and local agencies must look at how to prevent problems before they happen by focusing on their causes.
* Integration of services – Different programs must not duplicate their services and efforts.
* Simplifying service delivery – Programs must deliver services efficiently. Families should not have to visit several agencies or fill out multiple forms to get their needs met.
* Evaluation of program outcomes – programs must focus on outcomes and effectiveness.
With its strong emphasis on work, OWF moves families toward self-sufficiency by placing expectations on the participants through written Self-Sufficiency contracts stating their obligations for eligibility of cash assistance. OWF has a five year life time limit on cash benefits. A cash recipient, after using 36 months of assistance, must be off the cash program for two years before they are eligible again for the final 24 months eligibility. Individuals receiving OWF assistance are required to participate in work activities. A single parent household is required to work 35 hours per week and a two-parent household is required 35 to 55 hours per week. To help families become self-sufficient, the program provides needed support services to assist them in finding and retaining employment.
Recipients of OWF cash benefits are eligible for health care coverage under Medicaid and for child care subsidies. They may also be eligible for Food Stamps, Prevention-Retention and Contingency payments and various training program to assist them in obtaining and retaining employment. Once employed the OWF participant may remain eligible for cash assistance as wage disregards are allowed for an 18 month period. They may also receive Transitional health care and child care for one year after they start working to help in the transition to work.
The County Commissioners faced with an unemployment rate triple that of the state average, felt that in order to meet the states expectations of moving people from welfare roles to employment, they must improve the economic climate of the county. As a part of their strategy to end welfare dependency the Board chose to provide funding for the local Department of Development, with the goal of assisting in expansion of present jobs and bringing new industry to the county. They also entered into a training agreement with the Rio Grande University’s Crossroads Program to provide short term training at their Meigs Center in Middleport, which is located next door to the Department of Job and Family Services.
The Meigs County Department of Job and Family Services offers OWF participants the following activities to assist them in becoming self-sufficient::
* Work Experience Program, an "on the job" unpaid training program designed to assist the participant in developing skills and experience which will increase his or her potential to gain unsubsidized employment. The program is also used as an incentive to employers to hire an OWF participant, who is assigned at a work site for a training period, by giving them the opportunity to ensure a compatible match at no cost and no risk. The Department of Job and Family Services pays workers compensation during the assignment.
* Subsidized Employment Program, a program which provides an employer with a $350 monthly reimbursement (for up to a six month time period) to help offset training costs when hiring an OWF participant.
* Short-term Training, A program offered through a contract between the Department of Jobs and Family Services and Rio Grande University’s Crossroads Program in Meigs County. Training is usually one to two months in duration and provided at no cost to the participant, with job placement assistance following the training. This training is geared to develop the participants work ethics. OWF participants have the opportunity to obtain short term training thru other providers, such as vocational schools, and receive supportive services through the County Department of Jobs and Family Services.
* Job Search, is a one month activity designed to assist participants in finding employment. All participants receive work maturity skills training which will develop a work ethic and skills required to obtain employment. The training includes: individual assessment, personal development, work expectations, interviews/resume/applications, time management, budgeting, dress, appearance and hygiene.
Learning, Earning and Parenting Program (LEAP)
The LEAP Program is a special program to help Ohio Works First eligible pregnant teens or teen parents to graduate from high school or obtain a high school equivalence diploma (HSED). Human Services believes that finishing school is very important for teens and their family. No high school diploma ranks high as an indicating factor of welfare dependency.
The LEAP Program is available to anyone:
* under age 20
*receiving assistance through OWF
* living with his/her child(ren) or is pregnant, and
* has not received a high school diploma or a (HSED)
The LEAP Program allows teens to be rewarded for attending school regularly with a $62 per month supplement to the families OWF check. At the end of each school year successfully completed by the teen, he or she will receive a $62 grade-completion bonus. Upon graduation from high school or upon attaining their HSED the teen is eligible for a $200 graduation bonus. The graduation bonus is given in place of the $62 grade completion bonus.
The program, also, allows the department to penalize teens who fail to stay in school or who do not have good attendance, by deducting $62 per month from the family’s OWF check. The $62 will continue to be deducted until which time the teen meets the LEAP Program attendance requirements. If the teen fails to meet these requirement for a six month period, all cash assistance to the teen and his or her child(ren) will end.
The LEAP Program allow the department to help the teen with day care, transportation and other services they may need to stay in school.