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How to apply for the Ohio Direction Card (Food Stamps)

Posted In:  low income assistance

ohio ebt card

In the state of Ohio, eligible families and individuals can receive the Ohio Direction Card, an  EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer), or food stamp card. When the card is used at approved grocery stores, the amount is automatically deducted from the monthly allowance. These cards can be used at any store that displays the "Ohio DIRECTION" sticker in their storefront. When making purchases, use your card like a debit card, enter your unique PIN number afterward. On your receipt, the remaining balance for that month will be stated.

To Apply

Complete the application, then send it to HCJFS ATTN: Food Stamp Applications,222 E. Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45202. (Be sure to put a return address) You will later receive a letter asking you to call them and make an appointment to complete the application process in person.

You can also apply in person by visiting your local County Department of Job and Family Services (CDJFS).  

Either way, remember to bring:

  • Proof of citizenship, or an alien registration card
  • Proof of all income
  • Social Security Card
  • Birth Certificate
  • Proof of housing (rent/mortgage) costs
  • Proof of utility costs
  • Proof of medical costs if aged 60 or older, or if disabled
  • Proof of disability (if applicable)
  • Proof of child support (if applicable)

If you have any questions, you can call (513) 946-1000 or visit the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website.

In addition to your Ohio State Benefits, you might also consider local food pantries. You can usually find these through any churches or community-minded organizations or coalitions. Angel Food Ministries is a private nationwide food assistance program does not have any minimum income restrictions, and you can get a box of groceries for around $30.00

What are the income qualifications?

Your eligibility for Ohio Food Assistance benefits depends on your income, your household size, rent, utility payments, your current assets and other factors.

The table below shows the maximum income allowed to qualify, as well as the maximum amount of food stamp benefits that could be available to use on your Ohio Direction Card:

Household Size

Maximum Gross Income Limit
Per Month (10/01/08)

 Food Stamp Benefit

























Each additional

+ $390



What if I have questions about my Direction Card?

Call the Helpline, 1-800-944-3273. The Helpline is open 24 hours every day for your questions.


When should I call the Helpline?

  • Call IMMEDIATLY if your Ohio Direction Card is lost or stolen.
  • Call if your Direction Card is bent or otherwise damaged
  • Call when you need to know your Direction Card balance.
  • Call if you have other questions or need additional help with your Direction Card.


How do I use the Direction Card to buy food? 

  • Before you shop, you can check your current balance by by calling the Helpline at 1-800-944-3273.
  • Shop for your items and go to a check-out lane that displays the Direction Card sign.
  • Hand your Ohio Direction Card to the store clerk, or put it into the Point-Of-Sale (POS) terminal
  • Enter your five-number PIN (your secret code) on the keypad. The terminal will show stars (*****), then press ENTER
  • The clerk enters the food stamp amount and, if it is right, you press the YES key.
  • You will get a copy of a printed receipt showing:
    • store name and address
    • retailer ID and date & time of purchase, checkout lane, and clerk number
    • your Direction Card number
    • your Direction Card beginning balance
    • amount of your purchase
    • your Direction Card ending balance - you can use this next time you shop so that you remember how much you have to spend.
  • Keep your receipt so you will know your new balance the next time you shop.


How can I  find out my Direction Card balance?

(Have your Direction Card with you when calling)

  • Call the Helpline, 1-800-944-3273
  • If you are calling from a touch-tone phone, press 1.
    • If you don't have a touch-tone phone, an operator will assist you
  • To hear your balance, press 1 again.
  • Enter your Ohio Direction card number. If you enter the wrong number,it will ask yoy to try again.
  • The automated system will tell you your remaining balance.
  • You can hang up, or press 0 to speak with an operator.

Also, have a look at the following helpful areas on our site:


More info on Food Stamps:
How to Apply For Food Stamps
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