Gov. Mike DeWine has urged all those doing business with JFS during the Covid-19 pandemic to conduct that business via phone, email or online. Here are some important ways to contact or do business with Hamilton County JFS: Phone: 513-946-1000 Fax: 513-946-1076 To apply for benefits: 1-844-640-OHIO (6446).

Hamilton County Job and Family Services DOES NOT administer unemployment benefits. There are two ways to file for benefits in Ohio: The fastest and easiest way is to file online at unemployment.ohio.gov where you can file 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also file for benefits by phone Monday through Friday (except holidays) from 7am-7pm by calling (877) 644-6562 of TTY (614) 387-8408. This link provides step-by-step directions on how to apply for benefits.

There is also a new drop box outside of our main entrance for paperwork for any program (FAA, Child Care, Child Support) but not for payments. Please remember to include your name, DOB, SSN and case number.

Update on April 8, 2020 (11:00 a.m.)COVID-19 Myths vs Facts

Update on April 7, 2020 (5 p.m.) – Some Ohioans enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will soon receive additional support to help them during the pandemic, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced today. Those who did not receive the maximum monthly allotment for their household size in March will be issued an additional payment beginning this week. More information

Update on April 6, 2020 (1:00 p.m.) – On April 6, 2020, HCJFS began accepting applications for a one-time, $500 assistance check through our COVID-19 PRC Response Program. There was an overwhelming response with 6,000 applications received and all $3,000,000 in available funds being obligated. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. We will attempt to secure other or additional funds to serve additional families in the coming days and weeks. Thank you in advance for your patience.

Customers with questions about their submitted application for COVID-19 related PRC can call (513) 946-1120 for assistance.

Update on April 6, 2020 – Hamilton County Job and Family Services COVID-19 PRC Response Program

Households with minor children in need of additional financial assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for a one-time $500 assistance check. The program is based on continued funding availability. If approved, HCJFS will send a check to the address you provide on the application. The check will arrive in approximately two weeks from the date of approval of your application.

Service Updates

Essential jobs: If you are able and willing to work as an essential employee during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced a new website where job seekers can be matched with essential businesses. Coronavirus.Ohio.gov/JobSearch

Ohio residents who receive SNAP benefits can now do their grocery shopping online and pick up groceries in their cars. Learn more

Avoid COVID-19 Stimulus Scams – Message from Attorney General Yost

Pandemic Resources for Seniors – The Ohio Area Agencies on Aging have collected some great resources on their website, including information from the Departments of Aging and Medicaid.

Click http://ohioaging.org/news-and-links/covid-19-resources/ and scroll down to the middle of the page to the Notices and Guidance section for FAQs on nutrition services, non-nutrition services, various protocols and much more.

Hamilton County Juvenile Court: A new order Tuesday from Judge John Williams requires that anyone entering the court building, 800 Broadway, submit to a temperature check at the request of security personnel or a deputy sheriff. Anyone with a reading of 100.4 or higher will be asked to leave.

Anyone entering also must say if they have symptoms of a respiratory infection or have been exposed to anyone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Anyone asked to leave will receive instructions on how to participate in a court proceeding remotely.

The Ohio Department of Health has a new page with economic resources for individuals, businesses, and beyond.

Update on March 30, 2020, for the Ohio Benefits toll-free number (844-640-6446) – Due to a steady and drastic increase of incoming calls, the toll-free number is unable to handle the volume at different points. Callers are urged to continue trying until they get through. This is a statewide issue and the state is aware and working on the issue.

Hamilton County Job and Family Services does not process unemployment claims.

The fastest and easiest way to file for unemployment benefits is online at https://unemployment.ohio.gov. You can also call (877) 644-6562 Monday through Friday (except holidays) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or TTY (614) 387-8408.

As of March 29, 2020, JFS is operating as normal with the following exceptions. Please read the complete list as the changes are listed as they occur:

Stimulus bill: The federal government’s stimulus bill contains several provisions that will impact JFS customers. Among them:

Unemployment: The law expands the scope of individuals eligible for unemployment benefits, including those who are furloughed or out of work as a direct result of COVID-19, self-employed or gig workers, and those who have exhausted existing state and federal unemployment benefit provisions. The only individuals expressly excluded from coverage are those who have the ability to telework with pay and those who are receiving paid sick leave or other paid benefits (even if they otherwise satisfy the criteria for unemployment under the new law).

The law also provides an increase of $600 per week in the amounts customarily available for unemployment under state law. This increase applies for unemployment payments made from the date of the law’s enactment through July 31, 2020 (approximately four months). States can agree to provide pandemic emergency unemployment compensation to individuals who have either exhausted all of the benefits available to them under existing state and federal law or who are not otherwise eligible for benefits under existing state and federal law.

General cash stipends: The bill includes cash payments of as much as $1,200 per person and $2,400 per married couple. Individuals with an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000, and $150,000 for joint filers, would receive the full payment. In addition, $500 is available per dependent. People earning over that amount would see their payments reduced by $5 for each $100 in income over that amount. The benefit completely phases out for individuals earning over $99,000 and married couples making more than $198,000. People with incomes under $2,500 would be eligible for $600, or $1,200 for a married couple.

Food assistance: Good news for food assistance recipients! Certification requirements and interim reporting requirements for those involved in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have been extended due to COVID-19 fallout.

All food assistance recipients will be notified of the following:

  • Those whose benefits were scheduled to expire in March, who have not already been recertified for April 1, will have their certification periods extended through September.
  • Those whose benefits were scheduled to expire in April will have their certification periods extended through October.
  • Those whose benefits were scheduled to expire in May will have their certification periods extended through November.
  • Those with interim reports due in March that are not returned or processed will see their cases remain open and will have a new interim report date issued for May.
  • Those with interim reports due in April or May will have their due dates extended after May 2020. Interim reports will not be sent during these months.

“These are the types of changes we have been advocating for and we appreciate the federal government understanding how critical this crisis is to our county’s most vulnerable residents,” said “:Tim McCartney, JFS interim director.

We will have further information about these extensions and other related items as the situation progresses.

Non-emergency transportation customers: On March 29, Metro is suspending fares to limit contact between customers and operators.  We will cease issuing monthly/daily passes to NET customers until fare collection is back in place.

Child care update: “ODJFS has approved 900 temporary pandemic child care licenses for essential; workers. These providers are listed at jfs.ohio.gov.cdc, under the “Family Pandemic Child Care Information” button. There is also now a button the page for child care providers. Starting on Thursday, March 26, through at least April 30, all operating child care centers in Ohio must have temporary pandemic child care licenses. No more than six children will be allowed in a room at any one time, parent interaction at drop-off and pick-up will be limited, and children of parents of the same employer will be kept together, whenever possible.

Stay-at-home order: The state has issued some guidance in the form of a summary and Frequently Asked Questions document about Gov, DeWine’s “stay at home” order.

Child Care: 4C for children has issued some guidance and created a hot spot its website for information about child care closings following Gov. DeWine’s announcement: https://www.hcjfs.org/media/4C-guidance.docx

Prevention, Retention and Contingency emergency assistance: In order to make the application process as easy as possible, paper applications are no longer necessary. Online applications can be found hgere: Prevention, Retention and Contingency Funds This new tool will make applying easier, improve tracking, and help JFS manage the increased demand for PRC expected from the COVID-19 crisis.

Child Support: The child support payment window will be close at the end of business on March 19 until further notice. Please pay online: https://oh.smartchildsupport.com/, call 1-888-965-2676 option 5 or mail to Ohio Child Support Payment Central, PO Box 182372, Columbus, OH 43218

Children’s Services: Center-based family visits will be suspended from March 23 to April 6. The agency is not stopping visits. JFS is required by law to facilitate visits between parents and children in agency custody. Options being considered are visits in the JFS building, community-based visits or visits by phone or video. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

This is not a decision made lightly and without great consideration. It comes after consultation and approval of Hamilton County Juvenile Court, the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office, the Hamilton County Guardian ad Litem’s office and ProKids.

Public Assistance programs: In-person interviews and work requirements are suspended. The agency is conducting initial qualifying interviews, as well as re-certification interviews, over the phone, instead of in person. Other requirements, such as assessment paperwork and tests, can be done at home or online. JFS is also granting “good cause” exemptions for those who would normally be required to participate in a work activity or attend school.

Child Care: Emergency rules for licensed Child Care Centers and Family Child Care programs have been instituted and can be found here: https://www.hcjfs.org/media/Child-Care-emergency-rules.pdf and here: http://jfs.ohio.gov/cdc/CoronavirusAndChildcare/

Here is a summary of the changes:

All licensed locations:

  • Increased absent days for a child from a maximum of 10 to a maximum of 20 during each six-month period of a calendar year.  Absent days can be utilized if the program is open, but a child is unable to attend.
  • Allows for 21 pandemic days per fiscal year.  Pandemic days can be utilized for any child currently enrolled in the program when the program has closed to the public in response to COVID-19.  Providers are paid for pandemic days just like absent days (8 hours per day for a full time authorization; 5 hours per day for a part time authorization).
  • SUTQ rated centers/homes should focus on meeting licensing requirements for health and safety.  ODJFS will not be assessing SUTQ standards and submission requirements with the exception of already submitted 1-star initial/renewal registrations, and already submitted annual reports for 3-, 4-, and 5-star ratings.

Family Child Care Programs

  • Increased child enrollment for Family Child Care homes from six children to 12 children, with a ratio of 1:12 (previous 1:6), and no more than three children under age 2.

Child Care Centers

  • Increased group size and ratios, link here: http://emanuals.jfs.ohio.gov/pdf/pdf-forms/2-12-18APXA.pdf
  • Pandemic licenses can be granted to existing child care center or new child care centers created in response to community needs, only during state of emergency, for health and safety providers.  They will operation under reduced regulations focused on the health and safety of children. Where possible, parents should identify a safe and healthy alternative to keep children out of group settings and not with an elderly provider. 

Unemployment: Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) is instructing Ohio employers planning layoffs or shutdowns as a result the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to share the following mass lay-off number with their employees to speed the processing of unemployment benefits: 2000180.

The agency also is providing instructions for employers to share with their employees about how to apply for benefits. “This measure will expedite the processing of benefits for individuals who lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic and allow them to receive their first benefit payments as quickly as possible,” said ODJFS Director Kimberly Hall. “We want to make sure all employers are aware of this number so that we can provide seamless service when processing claims.”

Ohioans can apply for unemployment online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at unemployment.ohio.gov. It also is possible to file by phone at (877) OHIO-JOB (1-877-644-6562) or TTY at (888) 642-8203, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Employers with questions should email UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov. For more information about COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

In addition, here is a guide on the unemployment process.

New (3/18/2020) Unemployment information: Governor DeWine issued an Executive Order waiving certain unemployment insurance (UI) requirements. The measure was taken in order to expedite the processing of benefits for individuals who lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic and allow them to receive their first benefit payments as quickly as possible.

While claimants must still meet the weekly requirements that they be “able and available for work,” the requirement that they actively search for work while receiving benefits has been waived. By law (Ohio Revised Code Section 4141.29), when an individual has been waived from the work search requirement, they are also exempt from completing their reemployment requirements. These are commonly known as the “8 week and 20 week” requirements. Once exempted, the exemption remains for the entire benefit claim.”


Agency wide: Starting Monday 3/16/2020, JFS workers will triage outside of the building to answer client questions and allow document pick up and drop off to limit the number of people moving throughout the building. This includes workers from all public assistance programs, child support and possibly others.

Family Visits: With schools closed, all transports to/from a school-based locations are discontinued. Trip scheduled Monday, 3/16/2020, will NOT occur. This impacts Children’s Services visitations in particular.  The JFS transportation team is working to proactively identify trips with a school address and submit changes to pick up/drop off locations. 

Child Support: Please do business with JFS Child Support through the child support web portal whenever possible: http://jfs.ohio.gov/Ocs/CustServWebPortalWelcome2.stm

  • Administrative Hearings: Administrative hearings will be conducted over the phone. JFS will make an effort to contact all currently scheduled clients to reschedule phone hearings instead.  Anyone who appears for their administrative hearing will be seen and in large meeting rooms to maintain appropriate social distancing.  Phone hearings will be in place for at least 30 days.
  • Genetic Testing: Genetic testing appointments will be postponed 30 days. JFS will make an effort to contact all currently scheduled clients to reschedule genetic testing.  Those already scheduled who appear for their appointment will be seen if they do not wish to reschedule.
  • Child Support Hearings in Court: Hamilton County courts have postponed all child support hearings for 30 days. At this time, state administrative hearings are still proceeding. But if you had a child support hearing scheduled before the court in the next 30 days, it has been postponed.

Non Emergency Transportation: All minor group transportation in the NET program has been suspended from March 23, 2020, through April 3, 2020. Requisitions for April transportation, with a start date of April 6, 2020, should still be submitted as close to the 15th this month as possible. As the situation is fluid, we will keep you informed as decisions change.

How to do business with us during this time

·      With the libraries closing, many who do business with JFS will need alternatives to fax documents. We are seeking options. In the meantime, if you can get to a fax machine, the numbers are: Main fax line: 513-946-1076 Child Care fax line: 513-946-1800

·      You can also send documents of any kind to this email address: hamiltoncountychildcare@jfs.ohio.gov

·     All forms and applications are located here: https://www.hcjfs.org/forms/

·    Clients can check their account, obtain a payment history, and send messages to a CSEA technician at out Child Support web portal: http://jfs.ohio.gov/Ocs/CustServWebPortalWelcome2.stm Note: Before registering for the portal, please have the following information available:

§  Your Child Support Case Number (beginning with a7)

§  Your Social Security Number

§  If you are ordered to receive support on ANY case, the last four digits of your child support debit card number, or your direct deposit account number, OR, if you are ordered to pay support OR you receive support but do not have a Child Support Debit Card or Direct Deposit account established, your 12-digit Web ID. NOTE: If you don’t know your Web ID, please contact CSEA at 513-946-7387

Available help

Fort those who need help during this time, our agency and others are available.

Job and Family Services

Prevention, Retention and Contingency (PRC)

Prevention Retention Contingency (PRC) provides once-a-year support to Hamilton County residents with custody of a child.  PRC is available for families with income under 200% of the poverty level ($43,440 for a family of three). PRC money can be used to help pay for baby items, gas cards, bus passes, utility bills and more. Prevention, Retention and Contingency Funds

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

To make sure food assistance recipients see no break
in assistance, we are completing all interviews by phone and doing them
ahead of schedule. Consumers can call 1-844-640-6446 between 8 a.m. and
noon each business day and we will ensure their case is certified timely with
no break in assistance. 

For new recipients, application forms are available
on HCJFS.org. Questions? Call 513-946-1000.

SNAP intake looks at 30 days of anticipated income,
taking into account projected income.

Cash assistance

For Temporary Assistance to Needy Families TANF assistance
(cash), the agency looks at the last 30 days of income but takes into account income
changes reported by the client and, once verified, uses that to determine
projected income.

If a client is already active on benefits and reports
a change in income, the change does not go into effect for their benefit allotment
until the following month, once verified.

For new recipients, application forms are available
on HCJFS.org. Questions? Call 513-946-1000.

Child Care

Apply for publicly funded child care to determine if
you are eligible. Submit all documentation to speed up the process. Questions?
Call 513-946-1800 or email hamiltoncountychildcare@jfs.ohio.gov. Fax
is 513-946-1830. Our site says it can take up to 30 days to process, but staff
is working quickly to process applications within 3-5 days.

Anyone can use hcjfs.org/child-care/ to look for
providers, including for parents who are paying privately.

Other assistance

General

United Way’s 211 hotline. Open 24/7. Or online at http://www.referweb.net/uwgc/

Rent

  • St. Vincent de Paul
    administers the city’s Eviction Prevention Initiative. 513-562-8842, ext. 771.
    Or check if you qualify online at https://www.svdpcincinnati.org/Get_Help/

  • Salvation Army – 513-762-5660

Food

  • Cincinnati Public Schools and
    other local school districts are working on food service plans to continue serving
    lunch to students.

  • St. Vincent de Paul –
    513-431-0602. Food pantry open Monday through Saturday.

  • FreeStore Food Bank –
    513-381-SNAP. Food pantry, 112 E. Liberty St., 45202. Open 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
    Monday through Friday.

Child Care

4C for Children:

  • Southwest Ohio: (513)
    758-1330
  • Northern Kentucky: (859)
    781-3511, ext. 1330
  • Search online in Ohio –
    4cforchildren.org

Utilities

  • Duke Energy announced that because customers may be facing unusual financial hardship, the company has immediately suspended disconnections for non-payment. This applies to all home and business accounts in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana as well as other states.
  • Greater Cincinnati Water Works is canceling water shutoffs and restoring water service. Questions? Call 513-591-7700.