Ohio Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program in Ohio is a federally funded program that provides essential food assistance to some of the state’s most at-risk residents. Many often ask, “What is the CSFP?” due to confusion about the program and the residents it is meant to serve, especially since program underwent a major change in 2014. Before the Agricultural Act of 2014, the OH CSFP served women, children, infants and elderly residents who met certain eligibility requirements and who were deemed to be at nutritional risk. However, after the 2014 Farm Bill, women, infants and children were no longer eligible for certification under the program. Today, the program offers supplemental food assistance only to elderly residents and to those women and children who were certified before the bill was passed. Women, children and infants who need food assistance but were not certified on or before February 6, 2014, must instead refer to the WIC program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for benefits. Eligibility for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program depends on several factors, and those interested in receiving food assistance may need to provide proof of eligibility. The following paragraphs discuss the CSFP qualifications in Ohio and review the program’s application process.
What is the CSFP in Ohio?
Ohio CSFP is a program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The OH Commodity Supplemental Food Program primarily serves low-income elderly residents whose diets lack proper nutrition. This commodity food assistance program differs from programs like SNAP, as claimants are not provided with benefits with which to buy food. The program is similar to the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in implementation in that the USDA purchases certain high-quality, nutritious food items and dispenses them to local distribution agencies based on several factors. For example, areas with a higher population of unemployed and poor residents generally receive more assistance.
Those in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program are eligible to receive certain nutritional food items directly from local distribution agencies. Residents who meet the qualifications for CSFP can visit local food pantries and other distribution agencies to receive pre-bought fruits, vegetables, dairy and more. This implementation gives beneficiaries less choice in food items, as they must take whatever the food pantry has in stock. However, it ensures they receive food in a timely manner and it does not allow them to use benefits to purchase unhealthy food options. Examples of foods offered under the CSFP program include canned apricots, low-sodium canned corn, dry kidney beans, whole wheat cereal, evaporated milk and more. Actual foods may vary monthly or by season.
To learn more about the Commodity Supplemental Food Program including the eligibility requirements to receive food assistance, download our free guide.
Ohio CSFP Eligibility
The Ohio Commodity Supplemental Food Program has various eligibility requirements that residents must meet if they wish to receive food assistance in the state. According to the CSFP qualifications, those interested in receiving food assistance must reside in an Ohio county that participates in the program. Additionally, residents must be 60 years of age or older and must meet the program’s income eligibility requirements. To meet the CSFP qualification for income, those interested in receiving food assistance must have a gross household income at or below a certain percentage of the federal poverty level. Those whose incomes are over this threshold cannot receive food assistance through this program but may be able to receive assistance through the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which has a higher income eligibility requirement and also serves elderly Ohio residents. To prove their eligibility for CSFP, residents will need to certify their income at their nearest food distribution center and may be asked to provide a proof of income document like a W-2 form, pay stub, or tax document.
As previously mentioned, CSFP program eligibility does not extend to women, children or infants who have not been certified since the 2014 Farm Bill was passed. Those women, children and infants who have been CSFP-certified since before the bill may not receive WIC and commodity food benefits at the same time. To learn more about CSFP qualifications, download our comprehensive guide today.
How to Apply to CSFP in Ohio
The steps for how to apply to CSFP in Ohio are simple once residents are certain they meet the CSFP eligibility requirements. To receive OH CSFP food items, eligible residents who live in a participating county should contact their nearest food bank. There are more than a dozen food banks currently distributing food to local agencies around Ohio. Each food bank operates differently and will provide interested parties with specific information about applying for CSFP. While the CSFP application process may differ slightly among food banks, residents will typically need to provide proof of age, identity and income. Once the applicant has been certified, he or she may begin receiving a box with available food items on a monthly basis.