5101:1-2-70 Issuance of cash assistance benefits.

(A) What are the options for the issuance of cash assistance benefits?

(1) Assistance groups applying for or in receipt of Ohio works first (OWF), disability financial assistance (DFA) and refugee cash assistance (RCA) have two options for the issuance of monthly cash benefits. The two options are:

(a) Electronic payment card; or

(b) Electronic funds transfer or direct deposit.

(2) The assistance group shall be informed of the two options at application and reapplication and provided informational material.

(B) What is the difference between the electronic payment card and electronic funds transfer?

(1) The electronic payment card is a pre-paid card system which transfers cash benefits to an account accessed by a magnetic strip card.

(2) The electronic funds transfer is a direct deposit system that transfers cash benefits electronically to individual bank accounts.

(C) How does the assistance group select one of the benefit issuance methods?

(1) Direct deposit

(a) If the assistance group selects direct deposit it shall complete the JFS 07344 "Direct Deposit Authorization" (rev. 8/2009). This form shall be retained by the county agency in the assistance group record.

(b) If the assistance group fails to designate an account suitable for direct deposit and submit the JFS 07344 within ten days, the county agency shall issue the benefits on the electronic payment card.

(2) Electronic payment card

(a) If the assistance group chooses the electronic payment card, the county agency shall make the appropriate designation in the client registry information system-enhanced (CRIS-E). This will result in the mailing of the electronic payment card and informational material to the assistance group payee or protective payee.

(b) If the assistance group has not completed the process to activate the electronic payment card within sixty days from the day the benefits were authorized by the county agency, the county agency shall attempt to make contact with the assistance group to ensure that eligibility for cash benefits exists. If the assistance group has not completed the process to activate the electronic payment card within ninety days of the issuance of cash benefits, the benefits will be expunged on an ongoing basis ninety days from the benefit issuance date until the card is pinned.

(3) When a benefit issuance method is selected, no change will be made until the next reapplication, unless the county agency determines that there is good cause for a change before the next scheduled reapplication or the financial institution dishonors the assistance group's direct deposit account.

(D) Are there fees associated with these methods of issuance?

(1) Direct deposit

(a) There may be fees associated with direct deposit that are imposed by the financial institution. These fees are the responsibility of the assistance group.

(b) The financial institution cannot impose any charge for an account that it does not impose on its other customers for the same type of account.

(2) Electronic payment card

(a) Certain transactions may incur fees associated with the electronic payment card. A complete list of fees is provided by the vendor in the client disclosure statement materials.

(b) Fees associated with the use of the electronic payment card will be deducted from the balance on the card.

(c) Fees deducted from the balance on the card will be identified on the assistance group's account. The assistance group can confirm the balance by tracking the account on the internet or calling the electronic payment card vendor's customer service number.

(d) If the assistance group disputes the fees associated with the use of the card, the county agency shall refer them to the electronic payment card vendor's customer service number for resolution.

(E) What happens if the assistance group's benefit is lost, stolen or not received?

(1) Direct deposit

(a) If the assistance group receives benefits by direct deposit and the bank account has closed or the direct deposit has been dishonored, the assistance group must notify the county agency.

(b) If the assistance group fails to notify the county agency prior to the issuance of the benefit, the payment will not be accepted by the financial institution for deposit and will be returned to the Ohio department of job and family services (ODJFS).

(c) If a direct deposit has been rejected by a financial institution the county agency shall make contact with the assistance group to determine if either a change in the direct deposit bank account is needed or if there is good cause to change the issuance method to the electronic payment card.

(2) Electronic payment card

(a) If the electronic payment card is lost, stolen or not received, the assistance group must contact the electronic payment card vendor's customer service number to request a replacement card.

(b) Each assistance group can receive up to four replacement cards at no cost every twelve months. The twelve month period of time is calculated from the initial card issuance date.

(c) There is a fee for additional replacement cards after the four free replacements.

(3) There may be a rare situation where a paper warrant is issued. If a paper warrant is issued and is either lost, stolen or not received, the county agency shall take the action necessary to stop payment on the missing warrant and contact ODJFS to request a replacement warrant to be issued. The issuance payment method in CRIS-E must be overridden by ODJFS before a replacement warrant can be issued. A handwriting sample and affidavit may still be required to be completed by the assistance group before a replacement warrant is issued.

(F) Who does an assistance group contact if there are problems?

(1) Direct deposit

(a) The assistance group shall be advised to report changes to the county agency so that the direct deposit payment can continue with as little interruption as possible. This includes a change in the account number, financial institution, or a change in the payee for the assistance group.

(b) If there is a change in a bank account or savings and loan account number or transit routing number, all direct deposit data must be re-entered on the appropriate screen in CRIS-E.

(c) A change in county of residence will not result in a change in benefit payment method from direct deposit.

(d) If there is a dispute or question relating to purchases or fees assessed on the direct deposit bank account, the assistance group shall contact the financial institution who holds the direct deposit bank account.

(2) Electronic payment card

(a) If there is an issue or question regarding the amount of cash assistance benefits that are issued, the assistance group shall contact the county agency.

(b) If there is a technical issue related to use of the electronic payment card, the assistance group shall contact the electronic payment card vendor's customer service.

(c) If there is a dispute or question regarding purchases or fees assessed on the account, the assistance group shall contact the electronic payment card vendor's customer service.

Effective: 05/01/2014
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 01/31/2014 and 05/01/2019
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 329.03 , 5107.05 , 5115.03
Rule Amplifies: 329.03 , 5101.33 , 5107.05 , 5107.12 , 5115.03 , 5115.06
Prior Effective Dates: 5/1/71, 5/1/75, 2/1/84 (Emer.), 2/9/84 (temp.), 5/1/84, 6/1/84, 4/19/85, 1/1/86 (Emer.), 2/3/86 (Emer.), 4/1/86, 10/1/88 (Emer.), 12/20/88, 10/1/91, 1/1/94 (Emer.), 3/18/94, 1/1/95, 1/1/96, 5/1/97, 7/1/98, 10/1/98, 11/1/02, 7/1/03, 8/1/08, 2/1/09, 8/1/09, 5/1/10, 5/15/13