Many Ohioans are reluctant to apply for available assistance for a variety of reasons. Ohioans are encouraged to take the time to apply for the help that is available, as these programs are designed as support for friends, neighbors and family members just like you. Below are common myths that keep Ohioans from applying for help.
Myth #1: Food Assistance is Welfare
The Food Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps and also referred to as SNAP) is a nutrition assistance program that helps individuals and families buy nutritious foods.
Myth #2: You can’t get Food Assistance if you own a home or a car.
There is no resource limit for the Food Assistance Program. Owning a car or home, as well as clothing items, jewelry, furniture and household goods do not count against your eligibility. Only your income matters.
Myth #3: Applying for Food Assistance is not worth it.
The amount of Food Assistance an individual or family receives is based on their household size, income and certain expenses. A mother with two children who works 40 hours a week, makes $7 an hour, pays $350 a month in rent, and pays a heating bill could receive upwards of $416 in Food Assistance a month.
Myth #4: You can’t get Food Assistance if you have a checking or savings account.
In general, the amount of money an individual or family has in the bank does not count against their eligibility for Food Assistance. No one should be punished for being financially sound and saving for their future.
Myth #5: Other people will know that I am using Food Assistance.
Shopping with Food Assistance is like shopping with a bank card. Recipients of Food Assistance get an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card to use at the local grocer. The EBT card is safe, secure and easy to use, just like a credit card or bank card.
Myth #1: Children who have private insurance cannot qualify for Healthy Start Medicaid.
Children whose families have income below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level can have other insurance and still qualify for Healthy Start Medicaid.
Myth #2: Only children are eligible for Medicaid programs in the state of Ohio.
Parents and caregivers, as well as their dependents, are eligible for the Healthy Families program if the family’s income is at or below 90% of the Federal Poverty Level. The Healthy Start program is designed for pregnant women and children whose family income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Myth #3: Pregnant women are only covered during the birth of their child(ren).
The Healthy Start Program covers many pregnancy related services, ensuring proper prenatal care and postnatal care for mother and child through and after the birth of the baby. Care continues for the mother 60 days past the date of birth and the newborn child(ren) is eligible for the entire first year once born.
Ohio Works First
Myth #1: People who get cash assistance are using the system.
The Ohio Works First cash assistance program emphasizes employment, personal responsibility and self-sufficiency. A self-sufficiency contract is signed by participating adults, which outlines the guidelines of the program and establishes a plan for the individual(s) to become self-sufficient during the time spent in the OWF program. This program can also assist grandparents with raising their grandchildren.
Myth #2: The Ohio Works First cash assistance program is available for 36 months.
Each county agency develops their own policies for hardship and good cause extensions. After the initial 36 month time-limit has passed, you may be eligible for additional months if you are experiencing a hardship or have good cause to receive additional months of benefits.
Earned Income Tax Credit
Myth #1: Ohioans must have a dependent child in order to qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Individual Ohioans with no children and married Ohioans with joint income and no children that is below a certain income limit may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Myth #2: Individuals and families only have the option to go to pricey tax preparation businesses in order to receive their tax return quickly.
The Ohio Benefit Bank and its network of trained tax counselors are available to help you maximize your refund, by connecting you with tax credits and deductions that you have earned. By electronically filing your taxes, either on your own at www.ohiofilesfree.com or with the help of a trained counselor, you can receive your maximum refund in 14 days or less!