Food Assistance Benefits
The Food Assistance program or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) helps buy food for your family. It is designed to raise nutritional levels, to expand buying power, and to safeguard the health and well-being of individuals in low-income households. A household may consist of an individual or a group of individuals who live together and usually purchase, prepare, and eat their food together.
Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)
Food assistance benefits are issued through the Electronic Benefits Transfer system. Information is encoded in a micro chip embedded in a plastic card resembling a credit card. At the grocery store check-out counter, the client enters a pin number and scans the card, the amount purchased is deducted electronically from the individual's or family's total monthly allotment of food assistance benefits.
If you have any questions concerning your Ohio Direction card, including your PIN number, usage and balance information, if you have not received your card in the mail, or if you've lost your card and need a replacement, please call 1-866-386-3071. Follow the prompts for your specific request, or click here to link directly to their website.
Who can get food assistance benefits?
Most households whose gross monthly income is below 130% of the federal poverty guidelines, or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines if household includes someone who is elderly or disabled. Follow this link to the Food & Nutrition Service Pre-Screening Tool to see if you are eligible to receive food assistance.
What are allowable expenses?
Allowable expenses are: medical expenses for individuals 60 years of age or older or who are considered disabled; dependent care costs; legally-obligated child support; shelter costs (rent, mortgage, property taxes, gas, electric)
What needs to be verified?
At the time of application some items such as income and expenses will require verification. If the household has little or no income and resources the household may be eligible to receive benefits right away pending required verification, except identity. Normal processing requires that benefits be issued or the application be denied within 30 days after the date the application is filed.
How often is your situation reviewed?
Depending on your household's situation, you will have a review (recertification) of your eligibility for benefits at least once every 12 months or more often if your household is experiencing a lot of changes or has earned income.
What can be bought with food assistance benefits?
Food assistance benefits can be used to buy food or food products intended for human consumption. They cannot be used to buy alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or hot food and hot food products prepared to be eaten immediately. You can not: sell or trade food assistance benefits; buy non-food items; use food assistance benefits to buy food for someone who is not a member of the household.
Note: This is only basic information. An accurate determination of eligibility for food assistance requires an application be filed and an interview be conducted regarding each household's specific situation.
You can apply for Food Assistance Benefits at the local county department of job & family services.
In accordance with Federal law and USDA policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, nation origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TTY).
Lorain County Job & Family Services
42485 North Ridge Road
Elyria, OH 44035-1057
Main Phone: (440) 323-5726
Lorain: (440) 244-4150
Fax: (440) 323-3422
TTY/TDD: (440) 284-4125
Cash/Food/Medical Call Center: (440) 284-4300
Child Support Call Center: (440) 284-4401