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Ohio Announces Repeal of Popular Disability Financial Assistance Program

The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) quietly announced the end of the Disability Financial Assistance Program on 7/1/17. The only public discussion we at Balin Law have seen of the end of this program was an announcement on Clark County Department of Job and Family Services website:

“Disability Financial Assistance Program (DFA) Ending 12/31/17

The Disability Financial Assistance Program (DFA) is a state and county-funded program which provides cash assistance to persons who meet DFA program requirements and who are ineligible for any financial assistance program supported in whole or in part by federal funds (e.g., Ohio Works First (OWF), Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)). In accordance with Section 812.40 of the Ohio Revised Code, the DFA program is being repealed; State funding will no longer be available and the program will end effective December 31, 2017.

As of July 1, 2017 any new applications or reapplications for DFA will be denied. Current recipients of DFA will be phased out between now and December 31, 2017. Recipients will receive a letter notifying them of the termination of the program.”

The DFA provided $115 per month in cash assistance to Ohioans who met the non-medical (income-based) and medical requirements. The medical requirements were the same definition of disability used by the Social Security Administration. ODJFS would pay for a one-time medical consultative exam to determine if individuals met the medical requirements.

In practice, “ineligible for programs supported in whole or in part by federal funds” meant that people with disability applications pending with Social Security would receive the $115 per month in addition to Medicaid coverage until a final decision by Social Security was made, favorable or unfavorable. It would take individuals 2-4 months to receive DFA whereas appearing before a Social Security Administrative Law Judge takes upwards of 2 years from an individual’s application date. The DFA was a vital lifeline for individuals unable to work, particularly when combined with the already reduced max food stamps limit of $194 per month for an individual while their disability application was pending at Social Security. As such, this repeal impacts (tens of?) thousands of Ohioans and is a cut to our already threadbare safety net.

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