Food stamps in Ohio, situation is complicated. how do I apply?
July 4, 2015 7:02 AM   Subscribe

I've been suffering from bipolar depression for a while and haven't been able to work. i'm living with my parent at the moment, but up to this point have been paying for food + board on my own with my savings. I think I have to apply for food stamps and maybe disability or I will start to eat into my parents savings and i don't want to do that. i'm not sure I'm stable enough to work yet. there are many questions i'm not sure how to answer on the application, and the people i've called haven't helped much. Do you think I should change anything on my application?

the application asks how many people are living in my household, it defines household as people that buy meals with me and eat meals with me. I've been buying my own food up to this point so i guess that means i'm a household of one. but i just gave the rest of my savings to my parent. So i have no savings and no income at the moment. So i guess now he would be paying for my food - i'm hoping that doesn't make my parent part of my household. i think its a grey area.

The problem is if my parent is included in my household i dont know if i will get food stamps since he is above the income threshold even though i qualify for emergency food stamps if this wasnt the case. my parent is not rich by any means, probably lower middle class and isnt doing awesome financially so if i'm unable to give rent or money for food anymore he could get into trouble financially. I don't want to do this to him and i worry it will make my depression even worse since i am an adult and already feel pathetic enough. i'm still trying to adjust my meds and find the right dose. i'm not sure if i can get a job if i'm not on disability right now since i'm not in a good place yet. i am on meds and therapy.

my parent is my authorized representative and i think if we have a personal interview with someone they would probably understand the situation and i would get the stamps. if I do the application through the computer or phone which seems to be the only way, i dont think they will get the full picture.

My application is almost done, I am just deciding whether or not to include my parent as a part of my household. it also asks how much money support my family is providing me (rent utilities stuff like that). like I said, i've been paying my way food + rent wise with my savings up to this point so up until now i think i would have qualified as a 1 person household. now they will have to pay and i'm worried that means i have to add him to the household.

What do you think i should do? I worry the computer will automatically reject my application without understand the specifics if i put down 2-person household. should i just put down 1 person and see what happens since that is how it would have probably been up to this point? I tried calling the department many times, no one seemed to know what was going on.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sorry to say food stamp benefits are shrinking terribly. I am in Michigan and have a friend who is disabled due to both physical and psychological problems, she gets a max of approx. $200/month, and it often fluctuates for whatever Official Gov't. Reasons. Some months she gets less than $100, those months are really tough. I don't have any advice on how to complete your applications, but I urge you to apply for disability immediately also. It takes some time to go through the approval process, and is generally retroactive to the date you applied, so the sooner you apply, the better. When you are finally approved, you should get back payments to the date you applied.

Apply for whatever you think you may possibly get;the wider net you cast, the better your chances of getting help imo. So-disability, emergency help, food stamps, housing funds, medicare/medicaid, etc. Once you get assigned a caseworker, that person should be able to help you w/forms etc. But until then you'll continue getting very little help by calling the helplines, I'm sure they're horribly understaffed. Good luck, I hope you're able to get help.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 7:28 AM on July 4, 2015

As long as you're not under 22 you apply as a household of one, according to the FAQ.
posted by MsMolly at 7:36 AM on July 4, 2015

Do you buy food with your parent? Do you share meals with them? I suspect you don't segregate your food and you probably sit down with meals with them. Therefore, I'd say that you live in a household of two. You don't say your age, but the instructions seem to indicate that if you're under 22 living with parents, then you're considered part of your parent's household regardless.
posted by inturnaround at 7:52 AM on July 4, 2015

I'm not sure how the household size thing works, but from personal experience in Ohio, if you are not yet on disability, then food stamp benefits for you are going to be cut off after three months if you can't either find at least a part-time (20+ hours) job or show up every day for one of their "work readiness training" things. This is not going to be a good long-term solution to your problem. Three months is better than nothing, but this isn't going to solve the problem. There's very little personal discretion in the program anymore--they will have you come in and meet with a real person after you fill in the application, but the work requirement isn't something that someone can waive just because you seem to be functionally disabled, you have to qualify for disability. Disability is almost certainly what you need to be working on getting, if you're not able to work, and you should start now because it's apt to take awhile.
posted by Sequence at 11:15 AM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

You're a household of one.
posted by stormyteal at 1:48 PM on July 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

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