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You are here: Home > Benefit Services > Food Assistance Program (FAP)

Food Assistance Program (FAP)

What is the Food Assistance Program?

The Food Assistance Program helps you to buy food for your family. You will receive an Ohio Direction Benefit Card or cash payment, which can be used at over 900 stores in Cuyahoga County.
The amount of Food Assistance Benefits you will receive depends on the assistance group composition. Assistance groups are people who live together and fix and eat their meals together. An assistance group can be one person or one family or a group of people who are not of the same family.

Who is Eligible?

  • Individuals and families with low or no income. Income source may include:
    • Full or Part-Time Work
    • Public Assistanceo Social Security
    • Small Pensions or other low, fixed-income sources
  • No one receives Food Assistance Benefits automatically. Every household interested in participating in this program must apply and meet federal requirements.

How Is Eligibility Determined?

Cuyahoga Job and Family Services  use federal and state rules and regulations to certify people for the Food Assistance Benefit program.

Assistance groups may have up to $2,000 in liquid assets. A household of two or more, which includes a member age 60 or over, may have up to $3,000. Assets include things such as savings accounts, checking accounts, stocks, and bonds.

To see if you might be eligible please click here to use our Food Stamp Benefit Work Sheet.

What Do I Bring When I Apply?

Your worker will need the items below for each person in your household:

  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of residence
  • Proof of social security number
  • Proof of income

What Is The Ohio Direction Card?

Ohio Direction Card is a plastic card, which looks like an ATM card. You can use your Ohio Direction Card to buy groceries at stores taking part in the Ohio Direction Card Program. Cash Out is a different method of issuing Food Assistance benefits; with Cash Out, benefits are paid directly to you in a check. All members of the Food Assistance group must be age 65 or older or receive SSI in order to have the option.

How Do I Receive My Food Assistance Benefits With The Ohio Direction Card?

The Direction Card contains a computer chip. This chip keeps track of your Food Assistance Benefits. Each month you are eligible for Food Assistance Benefits, your benefits will be electronically added to your Ohio Direction Card account every month. You may use your card by placing it in the card terminal at the checkout stand. You’ll enter a five number secret code. As your monthly benefits are added to your Direction Card, the balance on your card will go up. As you use your benefits, the Direction Card balance goes down.


If you don’t agree with an action or a decision on your benefits made by your county worker, you can ask for a state hearing. You can also ask for a state hearing if you think your worker has not done something he or she should have. For free legal help call the Ohio State Legal Services Association toll free at: 1-800-589-5888.