JFS Peter Stefaniuk.

Ashland County Department of Job and Family Services director Peter Stefaniuk asks commissioners to approve changes at the department at its Thursday meeting. The commissioners obliged. 

ASHLAND -- Ashland County Department of Job & Family Services received approval from the Ashland County Commissioners Thursday to amend its existing Prevention, Retention and Contingency Plan's disaster relief initiatives to include a COVID-19 response program.

The change will allow Ashland County's JFS to provide up to $2,000 per household in assistance to Ashland County residents who's finances have been adversely affected by COVID-19 and the orders of business closures, job losses and other negative economic impacts the disease has brought along. 

"You have individuals who have lost their job, and we're seeing changes to our economy. This is a way to help those families out," said director Peter Stefaniuk.

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Ashland County's JFS has approximately $50,000 to support this initiative and is seeking additional funds. Its current funding comes from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF).

Eligible applicants must have a minor child and be able to prove decreased income since Gov. Mike DeWine issued a state of emergency in Ohio, among other requirements. 

Paper applications are available outside the Ashland JFS office at 15 West 4th St. and online at ashlandjfs.org.

The assistance can only be offered while the state of Ohio remains in a state of emergency. Funds may to be used for rent, mortgage or utilities, Stefaniuk said. 

Also Thursday, the commissioners approved Stefaniuk's request to close the JFS's two lobbies and the Ohio Means Jobs Resource room to the public. 

The department and its services remain accessible remotely. 

"We'll continue to operate, but we want to limit exposure. We offer essential services to our community and want to make sure we're here to meet the needs of our community," Stefaniuk said.

Public Assistance Programs: To apply for, renew or update cash, food, medical or child care assistance, call 1-844-640-6446 or click to apply at www.benefits.ohio.govYou can drop off documents to the drop box located on the corner of the building at Fourth & Orange Streets. (Please do not leave cash or checks in this box.)

Child Support Enforcement: Customers may request services by calling the agency or visiting our website (forms available). Customers may also access the Ohio Child Support Customer Service Portal Web Portal to view and print payment information, and message a caseworker. We are not accepting child support payments at this time, you can make credit/debit card payments at https://oh.smartchildsupport.com or call 1-888-965-2676. You can also send payments to Ohio CSPC, P.O. Box 182372, Columbus, OH 43218-2372, please make sure to include Case Name, Social Security Number, Case and Order Number. 

Protective Services: Protective Services staff will remain accessible during normal business hours, Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and will continue to provide emergent on-call coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have questions about your case, please contact your caseworker by phone or email. We are evaluating the ability to safely provide parenting time and other contact services to assure the safety of staff and customers at all times. Child visitations will be rescheduled if clients have had fever, cough, or other symptoms of respiratory illness within the last 14 days. 

To report abuse, neglect or exploitation of seniors, call 419-282-5001 or the Ashland County Sheriff's Department. 

Workforce and OhioMeansJobs Services: If you have internet access you can utilize www.Ohiomeansjobs.com. 

ODJFS provides a common number to speed processing of COVID-19-related unemployment benefits. As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has provided the following mass lay-off number for employees to speed the processing of unemployment benefits: 2000180.

Ohioans can apply for unemployment online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at www.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.

More Information: To stay informed, visit ashlandjfs.org.