Financial benefits are available for kinship caregivers, although some may depend on what type of kinship relationship you have. Access differs based on children services involvement in a case, your relation to the child, and who holds custody of the child. Most of the benefits below are available through your county Job & Family Services (JFS) agency, and many are potentially available to all types of kinship caregivers.
Below is a summary of some financial benefits available to Kinship Caregivers:
Ohio Works First (OWF)
Kinship caregivers and the children in their care can apply for Ohio Works First cash grant assistance, which is funded by TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). To be eligible for OWF, you must be related by blood or marriage, or be a legal custodian or guardian to the child in your care.
There are two types of OWF funding: child only and grant income for yourself. If you elect to apply for child only, your income will not be taken into account and you will not receive money for yourself. Child only monthly benefits are generally available until the child turns 18 or leaves your home. If you also apply for grant funds for yourself your income will be considered and you may be required to work. Benefits will only be available for three years. It’s a good idea to consult legal counsel about your options and which makes more sense for your situation.
The average Ohio Works First monthly payment as of November 2021 per recipient was $221. Benefits are issued through either the Ohio Pathway card, which is a pre-paid debit MasterCard, or deposited directly into a checking or savings account.
You may apply for OWF at your local Job & Family Services office or at Ohio Benefits.
This fact sheet has more information.
Food Assistance Benefits (Food Stamps)
This benefit is based on your household income and number of people living there. If benefits are approved, they are placed on a debit card that can be used to buy groceries anywhere in the U.S.
You can apply for Food Assistance Benefits through your county Job & Family Service office or through the Ohio Benefits Bank at Ohio Benefits.
Kinship Permanency Incentive Program (KPI Program)
KPI provides financial support for children in the homes of family or friends who have committed to caring for them when birth parents cannot. Eligible kinship caregivers receive an initial payment to defray costs of initial placement and may receive subsequent payments at six-month intervals to support the stability of the child’s placement in the home. The maximum incentive amount may not exceed eight payments and will not be provided for longer than forty-eight consecutive months.
To be eligible for KPI, the caregiver must have been awarded legal custody or guardianship of the child on or after July 1, 2005, the public children services agency must have completed the approval process, inclusive of a criminal background check, as well as completion of an application form, and the gross income of the caregiver’s family, including the child, may not exceed 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
Find more information, including the application, here.
For more on these and other assistance with expenses, please check out THE OHIO RESOURCE GUIDE FOR RELATIVES, which is published by the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services.