Thursday, May 6, 2010

Free Social Security Money for Ex-Cons? No, There's Not.

I thought my job at the library brought me in touch with every urban legend about money available, but even I get suprised sometimes. On Wednesday, I went to a monthly event hosted by the Northwest Ohio Re-Entry Coalition, a group of agencies dedicated to helping former offenders mainstream back into life. I gave my spiel about some library programs, and then a lady from the Social Security office got up to discuss getting a SS card. She suddenly gave an impassioned plea to NOT believe that Social Security gives ex-offenders $5,000 upon their release.

I fooled around the internet to see if this was a common rumor, and found it here and here. Like the SS lady said in Toledo, it's not happening. Nobody is giving you money for breathing in and out. Even if you did some of that in prison.

Where can you get help? From the same places that everybody else does--the welfare office, one-stop job centers, etc. Nationally, there are a few places to check for state and local resources.  This link is one of them, and this is another.  If you are in Ohio, check this site for re-entry resources in your community. It will give you a list of resources for everybody in need in your community--including you. If you are looking for educational money, look for scholarships where everyone else does, but also check the college or colleges in which you are interested, and see if they offer financial programs for ex-offenders. Most don't, but some do. Every locality varies.

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