Low Income Assistance Programs in the State of Ohio for Single Mothers

The state of Ohio has a population of approximately 11.5 million with a poverty rate of 15.5% which ranks 31st in the U.S. The poverty rate among children is higher at 22.5%. This means there are over 1.78 million Ohio residents living in state of poverty. Many single parents, families and individuals struggle with basic expenses on a daily basis. Fortunately, the state of Ohio has many beneficial assistance programs available for low income residents of Ohio. This guide will list and explain the assistance programs available.

Financial Assistance in Ohio

Many single parents and families struggle with the costs of basic necessities needed for their family and are in need of financial assistance. Fortunately there is some cash assistance available.

Ohio Works First (OHF)

The Ohio Works First program provides temporary cash assistance for low income families throughout Ohio. The program also helps promote job readiness by offering job training and assistance, helping parents find better employment.

To qualify for this program you must be considered low income, and have a child under the age of 19 living in your household. To learn more and to apply, visit the Ohio Works First webpage.

Ohio Unemployment Compensation

The Ohio Unemployment Compensation program provides temporary financial relief to those who have lost their job through no fault of their own. The amount you receive in weekly payments is based on earnings with your most previous employer. You must be actively looking for work each week that you are receiving benefits.

To learn more and to apply, visit the Ohio Unemployment Compensation webpage.

Food Assistance in Ohio

Food costs are an issue for many low income families. If you are struggling with food costs, there are assistance programs available.

Ohio Food Assistance Program

The Ohio Food Assistance Program provides food assistance benefits to low income households in Ohio. The benefits are received in the form of a card that works similar to a debit card, called the Ohio Direction EBT Card. Simply swipe the card with your food when ready to check out and you are set to go.

To qualify for this program, you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To learn more and to apply, visit the Ohio Food Assistance  webpage.

Ohio Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The Ohio WIC program provides nutrition assistance with food benefits, nutrition education, as even health care and social service referrals to pregnant, postpartum women, and their children up to age 5. In order to be eligible for this program you must be considered low income, and be deemed at a nutritional risk by a health care provider.

To be eligible for this program you meet the income requirements. To apply for WIC you must contact the WIC area nearest your location. You can use this Ohio WIC locator to find the WIC office nearest your location. To learn more about WIC and to apply, visit the Ohio WIC website.

Ohio School Breakfast and Lunch Program

The Ohio School Breakfast and Lunch Program provides free or lost cost breakfasts’ and lunches to under privileged school children while they are attending school. The family income and household size determine in the meals are free or low costs.

To qualify for this program you must be considered low income, meeting the low income requirements. To apply for this program you must directly contact the school that you child attends. To learn more visit the Ohio School Nutrition website.

Ohio Food Banks

If you and your family are faced with hunger, there are several food banks located throughout Ohio. The food offered is free and nutritious. Check out this list of Ohio food banks to find one in your area.

Medical Assistance in Ohio

Medical costs are very expensive as everyone should have some sort of health coverage. If you are of low income you can qualify for coverage in Ohio.

Ohio Medicaid

The Ohio Medicaid program provides medical care and services to those who are not covered under any other medical plan. This program covers many services such as:

  • doctor’s visits
  • prescription drugs
  • lab tests and X-rays ordered by doctors
  • hospital care
  • eye care
  • dental care
  • treatments
  • vaccination
  • MRI

Medicaid eligibility is based on your income and the number of people living in your household. It is important to note that, depending on you and your family’s specific situation, not all services will necessarily be covered, or some services might require you to pay a portion of the costs. To learn more about Medicaid including how to apply, check out the Ohio Medicaid webpage.

Ohio Healthy Start Program

The Ohio Healthy Start Program is the state’s medical assistance program for children. This program provides medical assistance benefits to those who do not qualify under any other plan. The Healthy Start Program covers all of the same medical services that are covered under Medicaid.

It is a lot easier to qualify for the Healthy Start Program as the income levels required are a lot lower. There also will be some premiums depending on your income, however they are quite low. To learn more and to apply, visit the Ohio Healthy Start webpage.

Child Care Assistance in Ohio

Child Care assistance costs are on the rise making it difficult for low income single parents and families. Fortunately there is some child care programs available that help with the costs.

Ohio Works Child Care

If you are enrolled in the Ohio Works First program you will automatically be eligible to receive child care assistance. A portion of your child care costs will be covered.

Ohio Transitional Child Care Program

This program covers provides child care assistance by covering a portion of the child care costs for families of low income not enrolled in the Ohio Works First Program. In order to be eligible the parents must either be working or enrolled in school. To learn more check out the Ohio Transitional Child Care webpage.

Ohio Head Start Program

The Ohio Head Start Program provides child care assistance and helps young infants and children enhance the social and behavioural skills in preparation for school. In order to be eligible for this program you must be of low income. You must be of low income to qualify, meeting the income guidelines. Check out the Ohio Head Start website to learn more and to apply.

Housing and Rental Assistance in Ohio

Housing and rental costs can be difficult for low income single parents and families as they struggle to make their rent payments. Fortunately, there are a few rental and housing assistance programs available.

Ohio Low Income Public Housing Program

The Ohio Low Income Public Housing Program provides residents of Ohio with reduced rent payments in dwellings owned by the local Public Housing Agencies in your area of the state. Usually you will be placed in an apartment, however it can also be single houses or condos. The housing authorities receive funding from the state, who then use the funds to provide the low income with very low rent payments in safe and sanitary living conditions. To qualify you must be of low income, usually set at 50% at the median income in the area you live, however this is just a guideline which needs to be discussed with the Housing Agency.

In order to apply, you must contact your local Housing Agency. This list of Ohio Public Housing Agencies provides an in depth list of all the Housing Agencies located across Ohio. Once you find the Housing Agency in your area, you can contact them to find out the specific income guidelines required, as well as any details or questions you might have about the program. To learn more visit the Ohio Housing Program website.

Ohio Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Ohio Housing Choice Voucher Program allows low income residents to receive reduced rent payments in housing of their own choice on the housing market. Unlike the Low Income Public Housing Program, this program actually allows you to choose your own place. It can be difficult locating a well priced apartment that large enough and of high quality, so this program enables you to afford high quality, affordable apartments. Once you have chosen your home, the Housing Agency provides a voucher to your landlord which covers a good portion of your rent payments. You will only pay a portion of your total rent payment, usually 30-40% of the total rent cost.

To be eligible for this program you must be of low income and meet the income requirements set by the Housing Agencies in Ohio. Similar to the Public Housing Program, you must apply through your local Ohio Housing Agencies to set up an appointment.

Ohio Affordable Apartment Search

If you are having difficulty finding a suitable apartment in your area, you can use this neat Affordable Apartment Search to help you find well priced apartments in your area of Ohio.

Ohio Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

The Ohio HEAP program helps low income residents pay for their heating bills in the winter. It is very cold in Ohio during the winter months resulting in high heating bills, which are difficult for the low income residents to manage. The amount you will receive off your heating bills depends on the funding available, your income, and household size.

To qualify, you must meet the income requirements. To learn more and to apply, visit the Ohio HEAP webpage.

Ohio Home Weatheriation Assistance Program (HWAP)

The Ohio HWAP program reduces your home’s energy consumption by performing various energy efficient services which will ultimately result in lower energy bills.  This program will check for air leakage, install installation, ensure the furnace is working correctly and more.

To be eligible for this program, you must meet the low income requirements. To learn more about this program, check out the Ohio HWAP webpage.

Ohio First Time Home Buyer Programs

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency offers many different First Time Home Buyer Programs geared towards those looking to buy their first house/mortgage. The programs offer down payment assistance ranging from 2.5-5% of the loan amount, closing cost assistance, and help with finding low interest rate mortgages.

To be eligible for the programs you usually have to have a good credit score. To take a look at all the programs offered visit the Ohio Housing Finance website.

Transportation Assistance In Ohio

Transportation can be an issue for those who do not have a car and take a taxi frequently. There are more cost efficient methods of transportation, and you can receive free medical transportation.

Ohio Medical Transportation Services

There are medical transportation services in Ohio that provide free or low cost rides to and from any doctors appointments, tests etc that you have. If you are enrolled under Medicaid the rides will be free, however if you are not you will have to pay, however the services are not very expensive. Check out Caring Hands Ohio and this list of Medical Transportation Services to learn more.


You can use Uber and Lyft which are driving services that work like a taxi service, however ordinary people drive you where you need to go in their own vehicles. The prices are cheaper than taking a cab, saving you good money over time. Check out uber.com and lyft.com to learn more.

Legal Assistance in Ohio

Legal costs as we all know are very expensive making it very hard for the low income to receive any legal help they need. Fortunately you can find free/discounted legal help in Ohio.

Ohio Legal Aid

The Ohio Legal Aid consists of nine legal organizations throughout Ohio that provide free legal assistance in areas consisting of housing foreclosure or rent evictions, financial and tax issues, health cost issues, legal aid with domestic violence and more. To learn more visit the Ohio Legal Aid website.

The state of Ohio does a good job keeping it’s poverty rate lower then many other states by providing a good system of assistance programs. If you are struggling there is help available that will get you through tough times.

Links and Resources

Ohio Benefits Page

Ohio Housing and Rental Assistance Resource


Find Local State Assistance Financial Help Programs for Single Mothers

Click on any one of the states below on the map (or via the table) to go to our local state assistance guide for that specific state