The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in Ohio

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in Ohio provides free food to certain low-income residents. Ohio TEFAP, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is funded by the federal government. However, there are several important differences between the two programs, both in eligibility requirements and implementation. TEFAP eligibility requirements are less stringent than those for SNAP, particularly in relation to household income. This is because TEFAP is designed to provide emergency food assistance to the poorest Ohio residents. Although known as emergency SNAP benefits by some residents, the TEFAP program is administered quite differently from SNAP. Under this emergency nutritional assistance program, low-income residents receive certain pre-approved food items from food distribution agencies throughout the state. Rather than receive benefits that they can use to buy food from approved retailers, those receiving help under the emergency program receive food items directly from agencies like food banks, soup kitchens and food pantries. Consequently, food choices under the TEFAP program are more restricted than they are under SNAP, but claimants are able to start receiving help immediately after their eligibility is established. The following sections review eligibility for emergency food assistance and explain how to apply for emergency food assistance in Ohio. For comprehensive information about the Emergency Food Assistance Program in Ohio, download our comprehensive guide.

What is the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in Ohio?

The Ohio Emergency Food Assistance Program helps provide immediate nutritional assistance for needy families and elderly residents across the state. Eligibility for TEFAP rests primarily on a claimant’s household income. Under the OH TEFAP program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) purchases several nutritional food items and distributes them to states based on the number of residents who are unemployed or are living below the federal poverty level. As such, states with a high unemployment rate and a high number of low-income residents receive more aid under the program than those states with a lower unemployment rate and fewer low-income residents. Although TEFAP eligibility requirements are not as strict as the eligibility requirements for SNAP, those applying for emergency food assistance must still have a household income less than a certain percentage of the federal poverty level.

Under TEFAP, the USDA purchases high-quality foods from U.S. farmers and distributes them directly to needy individuals. Those who meet eligibility requirements for TEFAP receive food through various state distribution agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens, community action agencies and other public and private nonprofit organizations. This food may be intended for home use or for immediate consumption (prepared food). These emergency SNAP benefits include a list of about 90 products like low-sodium canned vegetables, dried fruits, fresh fruits, unsweetened juices, dry beans, cereal, pasta, etc.

Residents who are eligible for TEFAP may also be eligible for certain other food assistance programs administered by the USDA through the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). These include the SNAP program, the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) and more.

Ohio TEFAP Eligibility Requirements

TEFAP eligibility in Ohio is based on several different factors, the most important of which is the income requirement. To meet the OH TEFAP program eligibility requirements, applicants must have a household income less than a certain percentage of the federal poverty level. Generally, this emergency food program eligibility can be verified using pay stubs, W-2 forms and other financial documents. However, residents who are already enrolled in certain other government assistance programs, including SNAP and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) may not have to undergo a separate eligibility screening, as the income requirements for these programs are usually more stringent than they are for TEFAP.

How to Apply for Emergency Food Assistance in Ohio

To apply for emergency food assistance, Ohio residents must contact their local food bank. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in Ohio provides pre-bought food items directly to needy households. As a result, those interested in receiving food assistance through the program must visit a local distribution agency stocked by one of Ohio’s food banks. After contacting the food bank serving their areas, residents will be given instructions for receiving emergency assistance through a local distribution agency. Claimants may be asked to provide proof of income to establish they meet the income requirements to receive emergency food assistance. They must also be sure to bring proof of identity and proof of residency or citizenship, if necessary.

Learn more about the emergency food program eligibility requirements and application process by downloading our comprehensive guide today.

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Ohio Family Assistance

What Kind of Family Assistance Does Ohio Offer?

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) manages the implementation of family programs designed to provide assistance to families in need. These programs include food assistance, cash assistance and protective services. Learn more about the services the ODJFS provides by downloading our comprehensive guide today.


Who Can Benefit From Ohio Family Assistance?

Individuals and households who need support in buying food and other necessities can receive assistance from the various ODJFS programs. In order to receive benefits, applicants must meet certain criteria, such as income, age and citizenship requirements. See what benefits you could qualify for here.