Ohio residents who qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) benefits receive their payments according to the same schedule every month, based on the last digit of their case number. That will also be the case in December. Payments begin on the 2nd of the month and continue through the 20th.
SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is a federal program that provides food-purchasing assistance to low-income households. Although it is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program is administered at the state level. Ohio’s SNAP program is administered by the state’s Department of Jobs and Family Services (DJFS).
Benefits are deposited monthly into SNAP accounts linked to your Ohio Direction Card, its version of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. Cards can be used anywhere you see the Ohio Direction Card sticker, including most grocery stores and certain other retailers.
SNAP recipients can use their Direction Cards to purchase these food items:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, poultry and fish
- Dairy products
- Breads and cereals
- Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
- Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat
Among the items you can’t buy with SNAP benefits are alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, supplements, live animals, pet foods, cleaning supplies, paper products and cosmetics. In Ohio, you also can’t use SNAP to purchase hot meals.
In terms of food purchases, after you buy something with your Ohio Direction Card, a receipt will show your purchase amount and the amount of benefits you have left in the account. If you need to know your balance but don’t have your last receipt, call the toll-free number (866-386-3071) on the back of your Direction Card. You can also access your information online at the ConnectEBT site.
How To Score EBT Discounts
SNAP benefits in Ohio and elsewhere also come with perks that go beyond purchasing food. Here’s a quick look at additional bargains you can get with your EBT card:
- Amazon Prime discount: Recipients of SNAP and SNAP EBT Cash benefits (or Medicaid benefits) can qualify to save 50% off their Prime membership. To see if you qualify, visit amazon.com/prime/qualify.
- Museum discounts: Those receiving SNAP benefits can get free or reduced admission to more than 850 museum and arts groups throughout the U.S., including through the Museums for All program. According to the Food Stamps Now website, participating museums in Ohio include the SPI Where Science and Play Intersect in Mount Vernon; Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology in Newark; Kingwood Center Gardens in Mansfield; and Little Buckeye Children’s Museum in Mansfield.
- Farmer’s markets: You can also use your SNAP EBT at participating farmers’ markets to purchase fresh produce. The USDA’s Food Nutrition Service (FNS) provides a monthly list of the names and locations of markets across the country that are currently authorized to accept SNAP benefits.
- Lifeline Program: If you are a SNAP recipient and your income is below a certain level, you might qualify for free or low-cost landline or cell phone service through the Federal Lifeline Program, according to Food Stamps Now. You might also get discounted internet service. Consult with your provider to see if it offers the program.
You can apply for SNAP benefits online at Benefits.Ohio.gov or submit an application to your county Department of Job and Family Services office. You can also file a SNAP application through your local Ohio Benefit Bank website.
Benefits are deposited onto Ohio Direction Cards between the 2nd and the 20th of every month, based on the last digit of your case number. Here’s the deposit schedule for December 2022:
|Case number ends in:||Benefits available:|
December marks the third straight month that SNAP recipients will get a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their monthly deposit for fiscal year 2023. The COLA kicked in on Oct. 1, 2022, and hiked the maximum monthly benefit by 12.5%.
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