Apply For Ohio TANF Benefits

Learn how to apply for Ohio TANF. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, called Ohio Works First, may help you become self-supportive while receiving monthly cash benefits to meet your everyday needs such as rent, utilities, clothes, transportation, or additional expenses.

Sometimes you may not be eligible to receive TANF for yourself, but a child or children in your household may. The TANF program is administered by the Department of Job and Family Services. In most cases, in order to qualify for TANF you must meet both types of eligibility, categorical and financial.

Additionally, to qualify for TANF there are work requirements. The OH TANF program requires most adults be employed or participate in certain work-related activities, which you will be assigned for a certain number of hours on a weekly basis in order to continue receiving TANF benefits.

The total number of hours needed to fulfill your work activity requirement depends on your family composition. Qualified state residents are required to produce information including household income, age, citizenship and resources.

Only household members who are eligible for Ohio TANF can receive welfare benefits. For more information about applying for OH TANF benefits, view the information below. If you still have questions or issues, then contact TANF Ohio.

Ohio TANF eligibility

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.

The gross monthly income limit for a family of three is $840. 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. In addition:

  • Minor children living with guardians other than their parents may be eligible for child-only assistance, with no time limit
  • Women who are at least six months pregnant may be eligible for individual assistance
  • Unmarried minor parents and pregnant minors must be in approved, adult-supervised living arrangements or live with a parent, legal guardian, relative or legal custodian
  • Most adults and minor heads of household must participate in work activities. Allowable work activities include such things as on-the-job training, community service and education directly related to employment
  • In order to receive benefits, adults and minor heads of household must sign a self-sufficiency contract
  • Failure to sign the self-sufficiency contract without good cause can result in denial or termination of benefits, which would affect the entire family. The contract explains the participant's rights and responsibilities and
  • what the county department of job and family services will do to help the participant become self-sufficient
How much are payments?

As of May of 2018, the average Ohio Works First payment per recipient was $203.58. 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.

Documents needed when applying for TANF

The list below shows the items required when applying for Ohio TANF. Contact your local County Department of Job and Family Services (CDJFS) for examples of the documents you can use as proof. If you can't bring everything, come to the interview anyway and we will help you.

  • Proof you have applied for a Social Security Number (if you don't already have one)
  • Permanent Resident Card (green card) or other INS documentation if not a US citizen
  • Proof of US citizenship if a US citizen
  • Proof of income or any other money coming into your household (such as pay stubs, tax records, award letters, child support)
  • Most recent statements for any bank accounts (such as checking, credit union, savings)
  • Proof of ownership of vehicles (such as car, truck, motorcycles, boats, RVs)
  • Proof of current value of stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, life insurance, trusts, annuities
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of any child/dependent care costs
  • Proof of any child support paid for children not living with you

Apply for Ohio TANF

Ohio has three ways to apply for cash assistance:

  • You can apply online at
  • You can fill out a request for cash form JFS 7200 and submit it to your county agency. To download a copy of the TANF application, click here. Or you can request one at your local county agency. To find a location, view a list of county agencies near you. Please note, some county agencies have multiple locations so make sure to call first to find the location nearest you. You can also register to vote at your county agency
  • You may also turn to your local Ohio Benefit Bank site for assistance with applying. The Ohio Benefit Bank helps low- and moderate-income families apply for work supports such as tax credits and public benefits, including Ohio Works First. To find the Ohio Benefit Bank site nearest you and to get more information, click here

Interview for TANF benefits

When applying for TANF Ohio, you may be required to do an interview. The county agency will provide you notice of the time, date and location of your interview. Your interview may be a telephone interview, office interview or a home visit.

If you miss your interview, the county agency will notify you of the missed interview and explain that you are responsible for rescheduling. If you do not contact the county agency within 30 days from the date you file this application, we may deny your assistance and you will have to re-apply.

I was denied TANF benefits. What can I do?

State and local agencies are responsible for establishing the eligibility criteria and procedures that apply in their programs, not the Federal government. If you disagree with a decision regarding welfare benefits, you have the right to file an appeal. For more information about your state's appeals procedures, contact the OH TANF office.