Food Assistance Change Coming

Image

 

If you receive food assistance from our agency — and one in six in the county do — you’ll need to know about an important change coming to the program.

Beginning Friday, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is changing the time frame for dispersing benefits. Previously, all 140,000 Hamilton County residents received their food benefits, loaded to their Ohio Directional Card, within the first 10 days the month. Going forward, the benefits will be dispersed over a 20-day period.

To be clear, this only affects new recipients, people who had a break in eligibility or people who move. If you are a current recipient and do not move or have a break in your eligibility, you will continue receiving your benefits on your designated day. (The exact day is determined by the last digit in your case number and that will remain the protocol in the new system.)

But if you were to lose eligibility for even a short time, or move, you might have to wait longer than 30 days for your next round of assistance to load. For example, if you previously received your benefits on the first day of the month, when you re-enroll, you may find that you have now been assigned the 20th day of the month for your card to load. So you might go as long as 50 days — instead of the normal 30 — in between loads on your card.

This would only be a problem for the first month back. After that, you would be back on a regular schedule.

Why the change? Grocers for some time have said a longer window for dispersing benefits would help them be able to staff more evenly throughout the month and to be able to keep a more steady supply of quality food.

Adoption Recrutiment Event on Saturday

If you’re thinking about adopting, HCJFS is hosting an adoption recruitment event at the Colerain Bowling Alley this Saturday Feb. 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you have a completed home study on file or letter from your agency, you may attend this event and meet some of our children available for adoption. Make sure to RSVP! To learn more, check out the flier. http://ow.ly/d/1S9F

Choose Your Partner Carefully

Choose Your Partner Carefully

I was very happy to see this editorial in today’s Enquirer. We launched that campaign a few years ago, but it is an extremely important topic that we should come back to on a regular basis. We need to update the numbers, but as you will see from the Choose Your Partner Carefully website linked above and the Enquirer editorial, we have traditionally outpaced the nation when it comes to boyfriends harming children. Mothers need to understand that just because he loves you, doesn’t mean he will love your child. Please visit the website and educate yourself, and thanks again to the Enquirer for a wonderful editorial.

JFS has a Widespread Impact on the Local Economy

Below is my column from our recent Update newsletter. If you are not receiving our newsletter, please visit our website, hcjfs.org, and find the sign up form under the Public header. It is a good way to keep up on what is going on at JFS.

 

Hamilton County Job and Family Services has a $1.8 billion impact on the local economy.

That is what was going through my mind as I reviewed the number of Medicaid applications we have received under the recent expansion. If we receive as many as predicted – 42,000 – that will push us above the 200,000 recipient mark. That is a full one quarter of the county’s 800,000 residents.

But the numbers behind the numbers are the dollars attached to those recipients. Because they have health care insurance, they are able to spend money at local doctors’ offices, clinics and hospitals. Last year, $1.3 billion in Medicaid was spent at local medical facilities.

JFS also accounted for $232 million in food assistance spent at local grocers. Another nearly $100 million was spent at local child care centers and homes. Various other programs account for nearly $200 million in spending at local businesses.

This is something I try to keep in mind when going about the day-to-day business of running JFS. Our reach goes far beyond the 275,000 people involved in a child support case, or the 167,000 Medicaid recipients or the 145,000 food assistance recipients. Yes, we help 17,000 abused children a year, but that help extends beyond those children to doctors who heal their wounds, psychologists who help them become whole and social service providers who help meet their other needs.

It is hard to say exactly how many people we serve, because many of the recipients are duplicated across programs. My guess is we directly serve about 500,000 of the county’s 800,000 residents. But if you consider the dollars that reach beyond those half million, it is a good bet there are very few in this community who do not benefit from the work we do. 

 

Medicaid Expansion: More than 5,000 Applications so far

Our agency is processing about 200 more applications a day with the expansion of Medicaid.

If you will recall, the state extended Medicaid to cover people with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty level – $15,856 for a single person or $32,499 for a family of four. The application period started Dec. 9.

Since that date, HCJFS has received 5,224 applications under the expanded program. Officials estimate that about 42,000 more Hamilton County residents will qualify for Medicaid under the expansion.

Online is still the best way to apply: www.benefits.ohio.gov .The best way to ensure a quick response it to fill out the application completely. If all the information is there, the computer cross-checks it with other federal data. If everything checks out, the card is issued immediately.

Hamilton County Stands Out in Child Support Collection

I am very proud of the work we do with Child Support collection. We have approximately 84,000 active child support cases, and we know there is at least a mother, father and one child on each case, so it is safe to say a third of Hamilton County’s 800,000 residents are involved in a child support case. 

We collected more than $130 million in child support last year, ranking first in the state for effectiveness among metropolitan counties. Cost effectiveness is calculated by dividing the amount collected by the number of workers who collected it. Hamilton County, which manages its 84,000 cases with only 43 child support technicians, also ranked second overall among all counties for collections per full-time worker.

The total collected is almost a half million dollars more than the previous year. This is the third straight year Hamilton County has been recognized as having the highest collections per full-time worker in the state.

Most importantly, the money we collect helps families. It puts a roof over a child’s head and food on the table. It pays the utility bills. It buys school clothes.

Excellent work, Child Support staff! You are helping make our community a better place to live.

 

 

 

 

Happy Holidays

Our offices will close at noon tomorrow and reopen Thursday morning. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.

We were very fortunate this year to have much support from the community. Toys for Tots once again donated hundreds of toys to our abused and neglected children. The U.S. Marine Corps Reserves does a fantastic job and helps so many people in this community and around the country.

Two churches, the Peoples Church in Clifton and Montgomery Community Church, held holiday parties for our children. It is so nice to be able to give them a sense of normalcy around the holidays and to see smiles on their faces!

Numerous other people donated gifts to our children. I wish I could name them all. The generosity of this community always amazes me.

Thank you and may your holidays be warm and filled with family and friends.