Hello Friends:

Happy New Year! If you’re like me, this is the time of year you find yourself anxiously awaiting the arrival of Spring. There are certainly elements of Winter I enjoy but those are mostly connected to the holidays so once we turn the last page of the calendar, Spring can’t get here soon enough! Here at JFS, we turn our attention from evaluating 2022 to focusing on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. No matter what 2023 has in store, I am confident that our talented and dedicated staff members are up to the task!

In this edition of the Job & Family Services e-Link, we recap some successes of 2022 and preview upcoming events in 2023. There is also important information about Emergency SNAP benefits coming to an end in February. These benefits were always intended to provide temporary relief during the pandemic but after three years, the discontinuation will have a significant impact on many families in our community.

I hope you will take a few moments to catch up on just a few of the things going on here at JFS. Please know how much we appreciate your support and value your partnership in serving the community in Fairfield County. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or feedback. 

Take care and stay warm,
Corey Clark
Fairfield County Job and Family Services Director
November was National Adoption Month
National Adoption Month is celebrated each November in an effort to draw attention to the continued need for adoptive families and to celebrate children who find their forever families. The Fairfield County Board of Commissioners passed a proclamation recognizing November as National Adoption Month with a theme of “Small Steps Open Doors.”

The need for adoptive families continues to be significant, both in Fairfield County and across the United States. There are more than 117,000 children nationally waiting to be adopted, including 35 children in Fairfield County. Teens make up the biggest population of children waiting for a forever family, accounting for nearly 60% of the youths in Protective Services permanent custody. There are children of all ages needing a family, though, and this need continues to exist.

On Nov. 19, Protective Services, in partnership with Fairfield County Juvenile Court, celebrated National Adoption Day with the completion of four adoptions, including a sibling group of three boys all under the age of six and a girl joining her forever family with her seven new siblings! Judge Terre Vandervoort, Magistrate Troy Sitzmann, and all of the court staff continue to be tremendous allies in the effort to find permanency for every child and their enthusiasm and involvement in this yearly celebration helps make it a success. 
CSEA New Hire Spotlight
The Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) is excited to announce that the newest member of our Legal Team, Tyler Fisher, Esq., passed the Ohio Bar Exam on October 28, 2022, and was sworn in at a special session of the Supreme Court of Ohio on November 14, 2022. 

Tyler graduated from Cedarville University with a B.A. degree in 2018 and from Regent University School of Law with a J.D. in 2022. Tyler’s prior legal experience includes employment at the Regent University Child Advocacy Clinic, Handong International Law School, and the Cedarville University Office of the General Counsel. Born and raised in Massachusetts, and a life-long baseball fan, Tyler roots for the Boston Red Sox, but has adopted the Cincinnati Reds as his local team. Tyler and his wife Rachel welcomed their first child last summer, Elliana. The CSEA is very grateful for the hard work of Tyler, Supervising Attorney Jim Nietz, and the rest of our wonderful legal team.
January marks the beginning of tax offset season for the Fairfield County CSEA. Tax offset is a child support enforcement tool that permits interception of a child support payor’s federal and state tax refund to help repay a child support debt. Throughout the year, child support cases are automatically submitted for federal tax offset if the support balance exceeds $500.00 and for state tax offset if the support balance exceeds $150.00. 

Once submitted for tax offset, the child support payor will receive notice of the offset from the Department of Taxation. That notice also provides a child support payor an administrative means to appeal the submission. Once ODJFS receives the intercepted funds from the Department of Taxation, it will take between 30 and 45 days for the funds to disburse to the child support case. Federal offset payments will only be used to pay past due support, whereas state offset payments will be applied first to current support, and then to the past due balance. 

Payments received from a joint tax return will remain on hold with ODJFS for six months from the date received. A child support payor’s spouse may want to complete and file IRS Form 8379 (Injured Spouse Allocation) which gives the payor’s spouse up to six months to file an injured spouse claim if it was not filed with the initial federal tax return. The timely filing of this form will ensure that the payor’s spouse’s portion of the return is not disbursed to satisfy the payor’s support debt. 

Tax offset remains a critically important collection tool for the Fairfield County CSEA. In 2022, the Fairfield County CSEA collected $960,888.00 in support via federal tax offset and $105,254.00 in support via state tax offset, together accounting for nearly 5% of our annual collection base.  
We have been informed by the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) emergency allotments are ending after nearly three years. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, signed into law last week, ended the authority for SNAP emergency allotments. The last month of emergency allotments is February 2023.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act allowed states to request emergency allotments (EA) for households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) until the end of either the federal public health emergency declaration or that state’s declaration. As a result, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has been providing EAs to SNAP households since March 2020:
  • An individual normally entitled to the minimum allotment of $23 per month has been receiving an additional $258 per month to receive the maximum allotment of $281.
  • A household of three normally entitled to $180 per month has been receiving an additional $560 per month to receive the maximum allotment of $740.
Due the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, States can no longer issue emergency allotments after February 2023. This means SNAP households will receive only their normal allotments beginning March 2023. We are directly notifying all SNAP households by mail, and where possible, by phone and text. 
Please note that neither the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, nor the county agency, have control over this change. Because this is a federal law change, there are no fair hearing rights or fair hearing benefits on the ending of the SNAP emergency allotments.
Individuals or families who need assistance with food while transitioning back to regular monthly allotment amounts can call Fairfield 2-1-1 Information and Referral for a referral to a food pantry.