The Ohio SNAP food benefits program is designed to assist low-income families with providing ample food and nutrition to the household during times of economic hardship. The amount of food stamps benefits awarded to a family is based on financial need and can vary due to an applicant’s characteristics. Since the program focuses on health and wellbeing, SNAP benefits can only be used to buy food items and are not meant to assist financially in the purchase of household items or to cover other monthly expenses. Benefits for food stamps program are awarded to eligible applicants after they have completed the application process and proven their need for assistance. The benefits are paid using a benefit card food stamp which can inconspicuously and conveniently be used just like a debit card at authorized retailers. For more information on the food items available for purchase with food stamp benefits and to learn how the benefits are calculated, review the following sections.
Learn About Food Items You Can Purchase With SNAP in Ohio
Ohio food stamp benefit cards can be used to purchase foods and ingredients that will provide meals for the beneficiary and his or her family members. SNAP food benefits can be used to purchase fruits, vegetables and grains, like bread and cereal. The SNAP food stamps can also allow a beneficiary to buy meats, including poultry and fish, and dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese. Additionally, benefits for food stamps program in Ohio can be used by beneficiaries to buy plants or seeds that will produce items for consumption. Food stamp benefits can be used at authorized retailers that accept EBT as a form of payment, including grocery stores and farmer’s markets. A food stamp benefit card is not accepted at most restaurants. However select restaurants may accept SNAP benefits as payment for low-cost meals for qualified homeless, disabled or elderly beneficiaries. While ‘junk food’ items are not banned from purchase, the SNAP program discourages beneficiaries from buying chips, candy, cookies or other unhealthy foods with benefits.
Note: Are you curious as to how SNAP food stamps can help you through temporary economic hardship? Download our guide for information about SNAP.
Items You Cannot Buy With Ohio SNAP Benefits
When attempting to use Ohio food stamps benefits, there are certain items that may be for sale at authorized retailers but cannot be purchased using these benefits. Food stamp beneficiaries should review the list of unapproved items that cannot be purchased with SNAP food stamps so they are not denied the use of an EBT card upon checkout. OH SNAP food benefits cannot be used to purchase any of the following:
- Hot foods or items meant to be eaten in-store
- Alcohol or tobacco products
- Non-food items including household items, pet supplies or cosmetics
- Vitamins, medicines and supplements
- Live animals or birds
Food stamp benefits can be used to purchase energy drinks, if they are not considered supplemental by the FDA and have a nutrition label on them. While live animals cannot be purchased using benefits from the food stamps program, live seafood like lobster and shrimp are approved food items. Gift baskets that have both non-food and food items may be eligible for purchase using SNAP benefits if the non-food items make up less than half the gift basket’s value. Furthermore, the gift basket cannot contain any alcohol or tobacco items if benefits are used to buy it.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Ohio SNAP Benefits After Enrollment?
Once an applicant has submitted an application to receive SNAP food stamp benefits in Ohio, he or she will receive contact from a representative at the office of Family Assistance. An in-person interview must be completed with a representative before approval to receive food stamps benefits, unless the applicant can prove a hardship that prevents him or her from attending the interview. It is important for program applicants to schedule and attend in-person interviews as soon as possible to prevent delays in benefit approval and to ensure prompt delivery of benefit EBT cards. Program applicants may be eligible to receive rushed SNAP food benefits in OH if they claim an extremely low income, high monthly expenses and express an urgency in obtaining financial assistance for food. After applying, qualified applicants can receive a SNAP benefit card within seven days, even if they have not yet completed an interview. Approved applicants receiving rushed SNAP food stamps are still responsible for completing an interview with a Family Assistance representative at a later date so they can remain eligible to receive program benefits.
Ohio EBT Card Overview
Ohio SNAP benefits are issued to an approved applicant who has successfully completed the application process with an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. The food stamps benefit card is simple to use and convenient because beneficiaries can check their balance and review completed transactions using an online customer portal. To access benefits, the OH EBT food stamps card works just like a debit card at all authorized retailers. A beneficiary can find a list of local approved retailers online or by looking for the EBT or food stamps logo on the building. After choosing the approved food items he or she needs, the beneficiary can check out at the cash register using the point of sale system and choosing the payment type as EBT. If proper set up for the benefit card food stamp has been completed, the beneficiary should have created a personal identification number (PIN) associated with the card. This PIN will need to be entered at the point of sale to properly access SNAP food stamp benefits from the account or to perform online administrative duties online.
Learn About Ohio SNAP Benefit Amounts
After reviewing an application for eligibility, a Family Assistance representative will calculate the amount of SNAP food stamp benefits an approved SNAP applicant should receive. The amount of Ohio food stamps benefits a beneficiary is awarded is dependent on information provided on the application, including the household income, expenses and dependent family members. An OH SNAP benefits applicant who claims a low income, high expenses and several dependent household members will receive a higher food stamp benefit amount than an applicant making more income with less dependents. Since SNAP food benefits are calculated using these factors, any household or income changes should be reported promptly by beneficiaries to ensure the correct benefit amounts are awarded each month.